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TIfE QUEST/ON OF PUTTING UPON 



CHARLOTTE M. YONGE, 



NEW EDITION. 



MACMILLAN AND CO. 



i! Righl of Trmslalion amt Riproduili, 



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CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I. 

PACK 
PALMER-WORM PARK I 

CHAPTER n. 

THE QUINTALLS 9 

CHAPTER HI. 

QUACK COMMON . . ? > . l8 

CHAPTER IV. 

PETS 25 

CHAPTER V. 

QUADRILLES 43 

CHAPTER VI. 

PREVARICATION 55 

CHAPTER VII. 

QUANDARIES 68 

',. \ » • .li- ». " 



▼i CONTENTS. 



m I 



CHAPTER VIII. 



PAGB 
P. AND P •••••• 77 



CHAPTER IX. 

Q IN THE CORNER 88 

CHAPTER X. 

POOR PERSIS 97 

CHAPTER XI. 

QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE Io6 

CHAPTER XXL 

POST-OFFICE REVELATIONS II4 

CHAPTER XIII. 

QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE 1 27 

CHAPTER XIV. 
POISONING A HOLIDAY . I37 

CHAPTER XV. 

THE QUAY 4 . - . . 145 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PACK 

PALMER-WORM PARK • Front, 



PAULINA HIDING THE LETTER Vignette. 

Paulina's grief at being left at home 39 

BLESS me, if it IS NOT MISS PAULINA !"..'... 67 



« 



PAULINA AND ALINE IN THE GARDEN ICO 



"I'll thank you not to meddle in my affairs again 1" 139 



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oil. 



l^HE QUESTION OF PUTTING UPON. 



CH APTEE L 

PALMEB-WOBM PABE. 

FoUB roofs sloping down together left in the midst 
a small space a little more than a yard square, 
and somewhat enlarged by an attic window opening 
upon it from one of the roofs. On the lead which 
covered the said flat space stood various flower- 
pots and boxes filled with earth, and with a 
framework covered with muslin or net stretched 
over them. Among them knelt a girl of thirteen, 
big, dark, rosy, the wind playing with her immense 
bush of black, rather rusty hair, as with a brown 

B 



PERNII. 



[chap. 



hoUand apron over her morning frock, and the frame 
removed from one of the pots, she was busied in 
removing with a camel's hair bnish, certain green, 
yellow-banded caterpillars from a withered oak 
branch to a fresh one, talking to them in no very 
civil terms as she did so : " You horrid little plague, 
come along! What do you stick so fast for! 
Have you lost your appetite? Tou can't live on 
camel's hair, you know ! Off with you ! You goose, 
you I Don't you know if you go climbing you'll 
find nothing but slates, and the swallows will 
swallow you, and there'll be an end of you ! Come 
along, you sulky thing! Get on the brush, I 
say ; I won't have any tricks. Curling yourself in a 
ball, indeed. Tumbling down! No! Keep your 
spinning for your cocoon. Don't waste it that way, 
I say — Wah ! I shall pinch you ! Oh, dear ! 
Horace ought to give me the first silk gown off 
you, when he's made his fortune!" 

" Paula 1" called a voice below in the room. 

'* Well, what ? " 

**Miss lillywhite's come." 

••Oh, bother! I can't come. I'm doing the 



/Vmii." 



i:] PALMER- WORM PARK. 



"But Persis sent me." 

" Bother Persis ! Get upon your leaf, you nasty 
little wriggler." 

^' But Elspeth said she couldn't have you always 
late for lessons." 

''Bother Elspeth I You made that one tumble 
down! Here, come up and help me, Alie." 

"But, Paulina, Elspeth said she couldn't have 
Miss liUywhite kept waiting." 

**She must, then. Pm not going to starve all 
Horace's Fernii to please her 1 Lilly may . hear 
the little ones ^There's a brush for you." 

" But Elspeth hears them," said the younger 
sister, who nevertheless had obeyed, standing on 
a chair, with her legs within the window, and 
her body and head out, a lighter, paler head 
than Paulina's, with brown hair and eyes. 

" Nobody asked her," was Paulina's reply. " Here, 
you take and do this branch — carefully, mind.'* 

Pemii — or, more properly, Bomhyx Pemii — is, it 
should be observed, the name of a large kind of 
silkworm, which lives upon oak leaves, and spins 
a handsome green cocoon. Some eggs had been 
entrusted to Horace Quintall, and were to be the 

6 2 



4 ON THE QUADRANGLE. [chap. 

foundation of his fortune — only^ as he was at 
school himself, the care had to be left to his sis- 
ters. To shift small green caterpillars from one 
oak4eaf to another may not be in itself the 
most delightful occupation in life, but at any 
rate it is so far preferable to lessons, that 
Aline was much readier than she would have 
been half an hour ago to assist Paulina in the 
operation* 

'*How they crawl! Have they changed their 
skins again?" 

"Tes, and eaten them up." 

" I say ! How many there are to do I Won't Miss 
Lillywhite be in a way?" 

"Never mind. There's plenty of time for our 
lessons; and as long as there's that, she has no 
right to complain. She never used before Sisters 
came home, and I won't be on my P's and Q's to 
please their fidgets. I wonder they haven't called 
yet ^" 

" Ah ! she's talking to Sisters," said Aline. 

« Talking ! What about ?" said Paulina, with a 
jerk, as if she disliked the notion. 

" About all sorts of things. She was telling them 



I.] PALMER-WORM PARK, 5 

about Horace going to Prince's Quay last year, to 
the regatta." 

"What business had she to tell them about 
that?" 

" It is very cross of her; but she did begin some- 
thing about the regatta, and she thought they 
ought to know " 

" Now I do declare that's sneaking and spiteful !" 
cried Paulina, stamping her foot on the hard black 
leaden roof, so that the pots and glasses rang. 
"What has she got to do with Horace? Til pay 
her out! What more?" 

"I don't know. They sent me away to look for 
you." 

" Aye, to have their plot out ! But I'll be even 
with them. I won't have Horace put upon and 
hindered of his pleasures." 

" You know Mrs. Peterson did make a great fuss 
last year." 

"I know she did, old cross patch. What busi- 
ness had she poking in her nose and worrying? 
He should go, if it was only to give her a lesson." 

" Papa didn't know about it." 

" No, of course not. Who was going to be such a 



€€ 



tt 



6 PERSIS. [chap. 

sneak as to tell him what the Petersons and all 
the lot of them might choose to make np? Take 
care, Alio ; you'll let that one drop *' 

Aline did let it drop, giving a great start as a 
step was heard on the floor behind, and a dear, 

quiet voice said, "Are you here, Aline Paula?" 

Yes, changing the Pemii," called back Paulina. 
Oh, those silkworms ! Can't they be done at 
any other time ?" 

" No," said Paulina, in a displeased tone ; " their 
boughs die, and that would kill them." 

"Then I think you ought to begin earlier in the 
day. Have you nearly done? Perhaps I could 
help you, and then you could get down by the time 
Olive has finished her scales." 

"Oh do, Persis dear," cried Aline, crawling through 
the window out upon the roof to make way for her, 
though not without a gruff growl of warning from 
Paulina that she would upset all the pots, and that 
there was not another brush. 

However, there appeared through the window the 
head and shoulders of another young lady, not un- 
like Aline, only grown up, and with the soft brown 
hair coiled round her head instead of flying loose. 



I. ] PALMER' WORM PARK. 7 

" Are there many more ? I could help you through 
them/' she said, as she mounted the chair; and 
though neither girl gave uj» the brush to her, she 
managed so well with leaves and fingers, that the 
sulkiest green caterpillars crawled where they ought 
as she coaxed them : " Come, my finger can't be half 
80 nice as that fresh oak! There! On the edga 
Put them on the edges and under side, Alie ; they 
like that best. Here, my pretty green fellow !" 

Paulina thawed and brightened again as the 
Pemii began to accept their new lodgment; and 
when Persis offered to come and help for half an 
hour before breakfast, she agreed to it thankfully, 
feeling that Persis was as well convinced as herself 
that no trouble was too great to be taken on behalf 
of Horace, their only boy. 

She even had a great- mind to ask Persis about 
Aline's story of Miss Lilly white's tales, but she had 
a natural distrust of all grown-up people, and she 
could never quite tell whether to count Persis as 
belonging to her own side or to that of — should she 
call it the enemy ? And before the self-debate was 
over, another voice was heard — 

" Children — ^Paulina ! Aline ! Where have you 



8 QUICK! [CHAP. 1. 

hidden yourgelres? Miss lillywhite is waiting! 
Fersis ! — ^what, you here too ? All come up like the 
family in dU Idugt Else t " 

** Here's die Muge Else herself/' said Persis, making 
them all laugh. "No, we aren't weeping, Elsie; 
we're only in Palmer-worm Park, doing Horace's 
maggots ! '\i\ e ve all but done." 

" It must not be done in lesson-time," said the 
clear, resolute voice from within — not sharply or 
unkindly, but with a sound as if it would be 
obeyed. 

" Only this once. Tou see it's a matter of life 
and death to the worms. We are going to have a 
spell at them before breakfast in future." 

** Only don't catch cold, Persis. Make haste, now ; 
and remember, Paulina, lesson-time must not be 
encroached upon again. It is not right by Papa or 
by Miss Lillywnite." 

There was a very grey cloud over Paulina's face 
as she shook her head with a toss backwards, and 
muttered something that Persis did not choose to 
hear. 



CHAPTER II. 

THB QUINTALLS. 

Mr. Qointall was one of the partners in the 
Peterskirk Bank, and lived in an old brick house, 
' with a large walled garden and paddock, a little 
way out of the town, just so far that Miss Lillywhite 
always went and came by the omnibus; and he 
did the same on wet days. 

Elspeth and Persis were the children of his 
first wife, who had died when they were almost 
babies, and their grandmother, Mrs. Trefusis, had 
taken them to her home at Kew, where they had 
lived with her and their aunts through all their 
childhood, only making visits at home every year. 
Paulina, Horace, Aline, and the two little ones, 
Olive and Clare, were the children of the second 
wife. She had had a great deal of bad health, 
and died just as Paulina was thirteen. The children 
were still in mourning for her, and sometimes 



lO THE KEW SISTERS, [chap. 



thought sorrowfully of "poor Mamma," but she 
had never been able to do much for them, and 
they did not miss her as many children would miss 
their mothers. 

At the time of her death Elspeth and Persis 
had been in the South of France. Their grand- 
mother had lately died, and one of their aunts had 
been so much worn out by nursing her, as to have 
to go abroad for her health, taking them with her. 
They offered to come home to their father at once ; 
but as Persis was rather delicate, and a winter 
abroad was very good for her, Mr. Quintall would 
not consent to this, though he accepted their pro- 
posal to return in the spring and take care of the 
house and of their brother and sisters. 

In their visits they had always shown themselves 
very kind sisters. They had played witji the younger 
ones, told them stories, described sights in London, 
— yes, and even had Paulina to stay at Kew twice, 
and Horace once, for a week together, and shown 
everything to them; nor did they ever forget to 
send charming letters and presents on the birthdays. 
So the younger ones had all looked forward to their 
return — Paulina especially. She was a sensible girl. 



II.] THE QUINTALLS, 1 1 

and felt that things were not going on well, and 
that they ought to be set to rights ; while, if she 
tried to do so, it always ended in a quarrel with 
one or other of the servants, generally in their 
teasing her about the fine times she would have 
when her half-sisters came. Then she would not 
lord it about the house, and be Miss Quintall. She 
would soon find the difference, and have to take 
care of her Fs and Q's. 

Even Paulina's cousins, the Proudfoots, who lived 
in the country, pitied her, and seemed to think she 
would be a sort of Cinderella. They told her that 
Elspeth and Persis were stuck-up fine ladies, grand 
and scornful, and that this was the reason that her 
own mamma would never let them live at home. 
But Paulina did not think much of Henrietta and 
Georgina Proudfoot : they had never been very nice 
girls, and she was pleased to belong to sisters whom 
she could believe superior to anyone in Peterskirk, 
certainly equal in look and style even to Miss Poins, 
the daughter of the principal partner, who had a 
grand park. 

No, she was not a bit afraid of them. They 
were her own dear big beautiful sisters, real ladies; 



1 2 PROUDFOOT OPimONS. [chap. 



and people might talk of Fs and Q's as much as 
they pleased, she knew she should be happj with 
thenL 

And was she ? It was six weeks since their first 
coming, and it no longer seemed as if they were 
company. Were Henny and Georgie Proudfoot 
right ? 

Paulina had stood by " Sisters " with all her 
might in the great battle with Emma the house- 
maid, who had flatly refused to exert herself to get 
the drawing-room into a state to sit in every day. 
" She had never been used to it," for Mrs. Quintal!, 
when she did come down stairs, used to sit in the 
dining-room and keep the drawing-room blinded 
and swathed up. That battle-royal, and one or two 
more, had ended in Emma's going away, with some 
very strong language as to Miss Paulina's ingratitude 
in worshipping the rising sun, and hopes that she 
would repent it 

Nay, Paulina had endured, and very reasonably, 
the having the canary-birds' cages, with all theu* 
apparatus of newspaper, turned out of the sunny 
window in the dining-room. Perhaps she bore it 
all the better because Aline went into fits of crying 



II.] THE QUINTALLS. 1 3 

at the banishment of her dear little Dick. But it 
went hard with her when Elspeth objected to having 
Ponto fed indoors. Ponto was Horace's dog, and 
any interference with Horace's concerns was not to 
be borne. 

Horace was at school about three miles off on the 
other side of Peterskirk, but he came home from 
Saturday to Monday, and Saturday afternoons were 
the happy times of his sisters' life — at least so they 
thought from Monday morning till Saturday noon, 
and then — ^however it was with Paulina, Aline's 
happiness was not ciuUe so certain a thing. In- 
deed, the way the sisters behaved about Aline was 
one of the things that was doing most to change 
Paulina's views about them. 

Was not Aline a stupid, fretful little thing, apt to 
cry for nothing ? And what business had Persis to 
come flying down with her cheeks in a flame to 
spoil Horace's amusement, when he was only just 
exploding a few caps to teach the child to stand fire ? 
"Why should Elspeth interfere when he rubbed out 
the sum that had just been finished, to teach her 
not to be such a dawdle ? Horrid little thing, she 
had found it put too, or why did she not bear her 



14 PRESAGES. [chap. 

tortures meekly, as she ought to do, and always had 
done hitherto, but cry and roar till " Sisters " came 
down to scold poor Horace, and carry her off to 
spoil her? 

Nay, had not Elspeth even pronounced that Aline 
would play the best, if Paulina did not take more 
pains? It was plain that they were making a fa- 
vourite, and that was very unjust and unfair, not 
to be borne or submitted to for a moment ! Nurse 
herself, and Miss liUywhite, like aU former gover- 
nesses, were always blaming Aline for whining and 
being idle, and was aU this to be turned ujside 
down, and the child only coaxed when she was 
tiresome ? 

Then poor little Clare, who used to play all day 
in peace, was caught and pinned down in the morn- 
ing to learn to read, instead of only saying the names 
of a few letters when she pleased 1 And if she re- 
fused, these cruel sisters would even put her in the 
comer ! It all came into Paulina's head now as she 
chajiged the Pemii, and she began to say to herself, 
" If I had only known, I'd never have been so glad 
to see them! Yes, I see how it is — just as Henny 
said — ^pretending to be m'ce at first, till they have 



11.] THE (^UINTALLS. \ 5 

wormed themselves in, and then setting Papa against 
us poor children. But 111 bo even with them, that 
I will, and Horace shan't miss the regatta/* 

But when Persis so good-humouredly showed her 
the last green caterpillar on his fresh leaf, she quite 
started at the break into her thoughts, and the 
start blew away a great many of them. Nay, when 
Persis looked round at Horace's room, to which the 
window belonged, and wondered whether a cabinet 
for his bird's-eggs would not please him for his next 
birthday present, she began to forget what enemies 
her sisters were. 

After all. Aline had only heard a little of what 
Miss Lillywhite was saying, and everybody knew 
that Aline's versions of a story were not to be de- 
pended upon. Paulina never did believe them unless 
she wanted to have a grievance. The story of the 
last regatta, as far as Paulina knew it, was this : — 
These boat-races took place at Prince's Quay, a place 
about nine miles from Peterskirk, upon the 26th of 
June, the Coronation-day, which was always a holi- 
day at Horace's school, and it was the custom of the 
boys to make up parties, and go down by railway in 
the morning and return in the evening. 



1 6 PAPA. [chap. 

The very carefully-brought-up boys, such as the 
clergyman's sous> the Browns — ^whose mother was a 
very strict widow— and one or two more, never 
went ; but it was the young people's fashion to pity 
them very much, and call their parents very unkind, 
and nobody had ever made any objection to Horace's 
joining the party. 

Last year all the younger population knew that 
the set Horace had gone with had got into a great 
scrape. Tom Drake, one of the seniors, had come 
back with two undeniable black eyes, which he had 
had in a fight with a sailor-boy ; all the rest seemed 
to have had something that was not at all good for 
them, and tumbled upstairs and into bed somehow. 
Most had very bad headaches the next day, and 
some fathers were reported to have declared they 
would never let their sons go again; but as one or 
other said so every summer and always forgot it the 
next, this did not much trouble anyone. 

Mr. Quintall was always a busy man. He had 
much more to do with the management of the bank 
than Mr. Poins, and was often at work beyond office 
hours. Then he went to the reading-room, or out 
riding, and never came home till late. When his 



II.] THE QUINTALLS, 1 7 

wife had been tolerably weU, lie would take her out 
for a drive, and he used to sit with her in the even- 
ing ; but the children were very little with him, and 
scarcely knew him. He had been less with them 
than ever since their mother's death, and had no 
notion of telling or asking him anything. 

Yet, sincQ Elspeth and Persia had come home, 
they had seen more of him. He sat in the drawing- 
room in the evening, and liked their music, though 
he generally went to sleep, and he talked more than 
of lata Paulina heard people say that he was 
recovering his spirits, and that his daughters were 
doing him a great deal of good. It is not quite 
certain that this delighted Paulina as much as it 
ought to have done. She did not like to think her 
half-sisters were brightening the home more than 
she could have done — nay, perhaps than her own 
Mamma. She felt cross over it. 



CHAPTER III. 

QTTACK COMMON. 

'* The Pemii are quite well, Horace." 

" Persis comes up and helps us change them every 
morning." 

«AU right! Look here, P0U7." 

" What a horrid looking thing, and how it smells. 
What is it?" 

*' Fancy your not knowing! It's a great moth 
caterpillar." 

" How did you get him ? " 

"Oh! a fellow got it and didn't want it, and I 
swapped my umbrella for it, because he'd broken 
Ms nose." 

"His nose!" 

"HLs umbrella's nose, stupid, trying to poke out 
a woodpecker's nest." 

"But what will you do for an umbrella?" 



CHAP. III.] QUACK COMMON. 1 9 

"Oh! I've got his; 'tis just as much use, you 
see, and they were just alike at first, only hia 
father is a Turk, and would blow him up no end, 
for it is the fourth hv/mherella that he has come 
to grief with this term." 

''And you traded on greater endurance?** said 
Elspeth, looking up from her drawing. 

" I knew you were a jolly old sis," said Horace 
with a hug. 

"And that creature," asked Persis; "I hope he is 
to go out on the leads." 

" Oh yes, only I must take him in in the winter. 
He lives in wood, and he'll eat for a year or two, 
and then change." 

"And will he go on smelling all that time?" 
asked Aline disconsolately. 

"Or being smelt," put in Elspeth. 

"Well, I don't think he's at aU nasty," Paulina'^ 
general spirit of opposition tempted her to say. 

"Polly shall have him put in a bottle and carry 
him round her neck for a scent," cried Horaca 

" Luckily that wouldn't agree with him any more 
than with us," said Elspeth. " Come, take him away 
to Palmer Park, Horace, there's a good boy." 

C 2 



20 QUALMS, [chap. 



"Wouldn't you like one more good sniff?" quoth 
Horace, holding the box with the disgusting red 
animal close to her nose ; an infliction which Elspeth 
bore with lalughing good humour, for she was ex- 
ceedingly fond of her only brother, but she defended 
Persis from the like. "No, no, Horace; don't. Persie 
can't stand so much as I can. Gpake the monster 
away; he'll make her faint." 

And still merrily, though resolutely, Elspeth sailed 
along between Horace and Persis, with whom Aline 
had taken refuge, defending them with outspread 
dress from the raid which the boy showed himself 
ready to attempt. 

He ran laughing upstairs, Paulina keeping close 
behind him. " Elsie always makes such a fuss about 
Persie ! " she said. 

"Well, Persie is a tender piece of goods, ain't 
she ? " said Horace. 

" I don't see it ; and Alie is getting affected, and 
will be just as bad, and they encourage her in it." 

« Holloa ! what's the row ? " 

"Why, just fancy — ^Elspeth came out quite angry 
because I had taken the candle and left Alie in 
the darky and she chose to set up one of her roarings ! 



/ 

I 



in. ] QUACK COMMON. 2 1 

A great girl like that ! If it had been little Clare it 
would have been absurd enough ; but Persis coaxed 
her and petted her just as if she had been 
a baby. It is quite true, Horace ; they are making a 
favourite." 

"Holloa! I wonder if this privet-hawk wants to 
change," said Horace, kneeling on the leads, and 
caring a great deal more for the fat green cater- 
pillar striped with purple and white, and with a 
horn on his tail, than for home affairs. 

"Oh no, he's not half big enough. And, 
Horace — " 

"I don't see the lackey." 

"I think he is shrivelling up to nothing." 

"Oh! hurrah! these black fellows of the Eed 
Admiral are jolly." 

" There again ! Persis never lets Aline gather the 
nettles for them; she always does it herself." 

"That's rather joUy of her." 

"Only it is spoiling Aline." 

" Then I'll unspoil her. I say, what a famous net 
frame this is ! I'U be bound Persis made that." 

" Well, she did, — at least I helped 1 But do you 
know^i Horace " 



2 2 PAPILIOMANIA. [chap. 

" Oh, Polly I" he interrupted, for as a general rule 
people are always much more eager to teU their 
own news than to hear other people's, "Harding 
says one can get silver-washed fritillaries by the 
dozen on Quack Common I I must get over there 
as soon as ever there's a holiday. Would there be 
time on a Saturday?'* 

•* Hardly, if you walked. But, Horace, I was 
going to tell you, that horrid lilly has been at 
Sisters about the Regatta day, and you're to be 
prevented from going to Prince's Quay." 

"Eh! That's meanness of the last description," 
said Horace, but with a careless tone that did 
not fit the strong voice. " Did you hear father say 
so?" 

" No, but Alie heard Sisters and Miss Lillywhite 
talking." 

" Oh ! if it is only Alie — Besides, I don't know 
whether I shouldn't go after the silver-washed," 
said the butterfly-mad* boy. 

"You won't be allowed to go anywhere," said 
Paulina, half provoked at not being able to get up 
a hardship. *VMrs. Hill, and Mr. Cunard, and all 
the rest of the cross ones, will ask Mr. Quick not 



III.] QUACK COMMON, 23 

to give a holiday, and Elspeth will go and put up 
Fapa to do the same." 

What made Paulina talk in this way it is really 
difficult to teU, but when people have begun to get 
up a nice little grievance, it is provoking not to 
have it perceived or made much of by other people. 
She succeeded so far as to make Horace say, " She'd 
be an imcommon cross toad if she did then." But it 
was spoken in an absent sort of way ; he was counting 
his oak-eating silkworms all the time. 

•* It would be very cross I quite unjustifiable. You 
have always had a holiday, and TU not see you 
cheated of it. I know how Til manage." 

"All right," said Horace; "only don't upset that 
hopdog." 

Horace had a great deal of faith in Paulina ; she 
was a year older than he, and, from having been 
much with her Mamma, was a good deal older in 
mind and ways, and she had often begged him off 
in scrapes, and obtained pleasures for him. He 
knew his cause was safe in her hands, and, so far 
as he cared about it at all, felt secure; but it was 
only too plain that what nurse called "they nasty 
palmers" were far nearer his heart than all the boats. 



24 PROVOKING! [CHAP. Iii. 

in the legatta. So long as he had his holiday he 
did not heed whether he went to Prince's Quay 
or not ; in fact^ as he was not likely to meet any 
butterflies, moths, or caterpillars there, he did not 
by any means feel called in that direction. 

Kever was there a more unpromising grievaxu^e 1 



CHAPTEE IV. 



PETS. 



Might not Horace be more safe and as happy with- 
out the Prince's Quay Begatta? 

That thought was borne in upon Paulina's mind 
when she awoke early on Sunday morning with the 
sun peeping pleasantly in behind the blinds. As- 
suredly Elspeth and Persis would say so, and the 
better self urged that it woidd be a sad thing to let 
him run into the way of temptation. But then it 
would be giving in; it would be letting oneself be 
put upon; it would be allowing the Sisters once to 
begin, and then there was no knowing when they 
would stop. Horace would be deprived of all his 
pleasures, and they would be as duU and stupid as 
the Airlies. Yes, but suppose he did get into mischief I 

Knock. "Yes, Susan." 

Enter Susan to draw up the blinds. 



26 PILLOWS. [CHAP. 



€€ 



•* Seven o'clock, Miss Paulina." 
Oh ! very well," in a sleepy voice. 
Your sisters are getting up. Miss Paulina. It is 
quite time." 

''Don't bother about my sisters, Susan; I shall be 
in time.'' 

Now Elspeth and Persis liked to go to the early 
service at St. Paul's Church — ^the new one — at half- 
past seven, and they trusted to Paulina to be down- 
stairs, make the tea, and have things ready so that 
their father, who generally came down at a quarter 
to nine on a Sunday morning, might find everything 
in order, even if they should be a few minutes late. 

They had asked her kindly, and she had been 
pleased, and had always hitherto been quite in 
time, but Susan's interruption somehow vexed her. 
''Making me get up early to do their work," said 
she to herself. " Why can't they stay at home ? I 
don't like being put upon ! I'll get up presently — 
there's lots of time." 

However, lots of time have an unaccountable 
manner of slipping away when one has a soft pillow, 
and the next thing Paulina was sure of was Susan 
at the door. " Miss Paula I Miss Paula I There ! I 



IV.] PETS. 2 J 

told you so. Asleep again ! Oh, dear ! it is half- 
past eight o'clock!" 

"I shall be ready quite in time," said Paulina, 
defiantly jumping up, recollecting that in old times 
she should hardly have viewed this as being late. 

A great scurry she had ; but hastily washed, hastily 
brushed, and what was worse, with hastily gabbled 
prayers, hurried over after she had heard her father's 
step on the stairs, she ran down the broad old stair, 
just as Elspeth, with her bonnet on, was making the 
tea, and her father blaming her with some sharpness 
for not being content to stay at home, but running 
about to strange churches, breaking up all the hours 
of the family. 

** I am afraid we are later than usual. Papa," said 
Elspeth. " Oh, Paula ! did not you make the tea?" 

Paulina felt angry at the reproachful tone. " It'si 
not my business now," she answered pertly. 

« The chnd is right," said Mr. Quintall. « Duties 
you have taken on yourself are not to be put off on 
her whenever you choose to leave them. I'll have 
no more of this gadding about before breakfast." 

" Oh, Papa ! " exclaimed Persis, who had already 
a great tear on each cheek. 



28 ST. PAUVS, [CHAP. 



"No, indeed! It is too much for you already. 
You are knocked up for the day. Elspeth should 
have known better/* 

" Indeed, Papa" 

"Nonsense! Don't I see her made almost hys- 
terical ? It is just the self-willed foolish way young 
women act ! Now listen, both of you. Since nothing 
else will do, I forbid you to be running ofiT to St. 
Paul's in this wild manner, as if your parish church 
was not good enough for you. Do you hear?" 

" Yes, Papa,** said Elspeth, looking up ; " but per- 
haps you do not quite know what a privation this 
would be to us." 

"I know that what sufficed for your mother — 
ay, and mine before her, good women as ever 
lived — ^may suffice for you, and I will have it so." 

By this time Aline, frightened at her father's 
loud voice and at Persis' silent choking and strug- 
gling with tears, began to sob, and that put an 
end to it. " Never mind, my little Aline," said her 
father ; " hush ! nobody is angr/ with you ;" and 
he heaped her plate with marmalade. 

To see the elder sisters blamed was certainly new 
and wonderful, and on the whole it is to be feared 



IV.] PETS. ^9 

that Paulina was rather entertained ; and certainly,, 
whatever twinge she felt, she did not choose to think 
herself guCty of having caused it all by not having 
come down in time to make the preparations. At 
least she so entirely expected to be blamed, that she 
had got her defence ready, and was quite determined 
not to care. 

Horace had drummed on the end of the table 
with the handle of his knife all the time it was 
going on, but now that Aline was pacified, Persis 
carried off her own bonnet and Elspeth's, and 
presently returned with somewhat red eyes ; but as 
Mr. Quintall began to talk as usual, the two daughters 
answered him, and the breakfast went on as if the 
subject was over. 

Then Horace eagerly claimed Persis's assistance 
in Palmer-worm Park, and away she went, followed 
by Aline, with a little hand stealing into hers. 
Horace was perhaps extra civil in helping Perds 
through the window, and, when he saw her anxious 
about her crape, getting a chair for her to sit upon 
in moderate cleanliness ; and he made a great deal 
of fun, to which she responded brightly, and wholly 
amused by the sight of the beautiful cocoon which 



30 PATIENCE, [CHAP. 

.the hopdog was spinning — ^a delicate apple-green 
fellow, with white tooth-brush tufts down his back, 
black velvet slashings visible as he crawled, and a 
rose-coloured feather in his tail He had got into 
a comer of his box, had constructed a framework 
of silk, in the midst of which he was standing 
upright, waving his head from side to side as he 
produced from his mouth the sUk with which he 
was enveloping himself in a sort of cloud. 

Horace declared he was just as good as a real 
silkworm, and that he would wind off the hopdog 
cocoons and get them woven, — ^they would be a new 
sort of silk, and he would take out a patent for them : 
all the ladies should be wearing "hopdoggia*' dresses. 
Paulina, hearing Persis laugh, thought the trouble of 
the morning quite got over, but little Aline had a 
tenderer heait, understood that the laugh was not 
quite free, and, when Persis went to wash her hands 
and prepare for church, followed her to her room, 
and tried to show her fellow-feeling by saying, 
" Papa was so cross." '' Never say that again. Aline," 
was Persis' answer, as angrily as Persis could speak, 
"Papa has reasons, and says what he thinksj 
right" 



IV.] PETS, 31 

"And shall you never go to St. Paul's before 
breakfast again?'' asked Aline, 

" I don't know/' — and the voice quivered. *' We 
must try to do what is right. Now, Ali Baba dear, 
run away, or your boots will never be laced in time." 

Aline knew that there was a full quarter of an 
hour before her, but she had the sense to perceive 
that Persis wanted to be alone, and went off as she 
was desired. When little girls will do a thing like 
this, they show tact and consideration, and grown 
people are very much obliged to them. The whole 
family met to walk to St. Peter's, through a mile of 
closed shops, only meeting girls here and there carry- 
ing out dinners to the bakers'. 

At this, the old church, Paulina thought it rather 
a distinction to have one of the square pews, with 
a green curtain on a rod on the outer side of it. 
Everyone had been used to kneel with elbows on 
the seat, and head against the sides of the pew; 
but though Elspeth and Persis interfered with 
nobody, they did not turn round, but knelt upright 
on the floor, leaning against nothing. Aline had 
once asked why, and Elspeth had said that they 
thought this way more reverent than crawling 



32 PEW-SPORTS. [CHAF. 

on the elbows: and Aline then observed that her 
Papa was always upright, and never leant as the 
children did. However, Paulina did not choose to 
take her head out of her favourite comer! it was 
a great deal too comfortable to be given up, and 
therefore she said it was all nonsense, and that she 
would not see Alie affected and changeable. 

Horace's place was in the middle of the side, 
against the wall of the church, where he had a 
delightful knot-hole full of dust — a perfect preserve 
of curiosities, which seemed to fill up fresh every 
week ; however, he routed it out every Sunday. On 
this day he foimd a fine fat spider, and was holding 
the end of its line, intending to let it lower itself 
down upon the black stocking that swelled smoothly 
above Aline's boot before it was hidden by her little 
black petticoat. 

But his manoeuvre was perceived by Elspeth, who, 
being out of reach herself, touched her father, and he 
I'eached out and put a sudden stop to the proceeding 
by a summary blow on Horace's ears with his prayer- 
book — making him drop the spider and subside sud- 
denly, hiding his face on the pillow of his twisted 
arms. Paulina's blood boiled. Bather than inter- 



IV.] PETS, 33 

fere with Horace's little amusements, her own calves 
should have been the promenade of stag-beetles, ear- 
wigs, hornets, if he pleased. To set Papa upon him, 
that was beyond all endurance. No doubt this way 
of kneeling was to axjt spies on them all ! That was 
the way Paulina said the Litany. 

"Wasn't it an abominable shame?" she said, as 
soon as she could get to Horace's side after church. 

"Eh — ^what?" asked Horace, who had quite for- 
gotten all about it. 

"That great knock she made Papa give you at 
church." 

He laughed, "That! who cares for a little bit 
of a whack like that? If you want to know what 
a real stinger is, I'll show you." 

Paulina had no desire for such an experience, but 
it seemed strange to take a blow from a father so 
lightly, and in fact some boys would have been far 
more grieved — some angry and resentful ; but Horace 
was a bright, careless fellow, on whom no vexation 
ever sat long. 

They sat on Paulina in his stead. It might have 
been thought that she was the one who had been 
punished, by her gloomy face all dinner-time, while 

D 



34 PERVERSENESS, [chap. 

Horace chattered and laughed as he only of all the 
young ones seemed able to do in Papa's company. 

Hitherto it had been the custom to take a country 
walk immediately after dinner, and have the Sunday 
Catechism, sayiug of hymns, and reading, after coming 
in ; but on this day it was so bright and hot that 
Ekpeth and Persis decided that from henceforth, 
while summer lasted, it would be best to have the 
Sunday occupations first, and the walk after, — a very 
reasonable plan, as Paulina would have seen if she 
had not been just in that captious state of mind 
which cannot endure any change. 

No, it was not too hot to walk — they always did 
walk after dinner: nobody could learn just after 
dinner ; it was very unkind — it was impossible. 

Whether impossible or not, she thought it so ; and 
a sort of stupidity — that was not unlike that of the 
deaf adder we are told of in the Bible — came over 
her mind and memory, and made her blunder over 
the answers in the Catechism, so that Horace laughed 
outright, and it was very painful to her sisters' 
sense of reverence. 

They were glad to set her to work where she 
would not disturb others, namely, to looking out and 



IV.] 



PETS. 



35 



copying texts as references to the Catechism — a 
work which she had done with interest and enjoy- 
ment for the last four or five Sundays ; but on 
which, in her present mood, she would not bestow 
the slightest pains or attention. 

Meantime Persis had done two verses of Greek 
Testament, and read a chapter of the "Kings of 
Judah" with Horace. She always had to go through 
his yawning and growling at the beginning, and 
calling it a great bore not to be let alone on Sunday, 
like other fellows; but when he had once fairly 
started, he always grew interested ; and he had foimd 
that when, on Friday, a lesson in religious know- 
ledge was given, he knew much more about it than 
the other fellows. 

Elspeth had the two little girls teaching them 
by word of mouth, while Aline learnt the collect 
and a hymn, and then letting them play or look at 
pictures while Aline had a little lesson on what she 
had learnt. 

All went well till Elspeth came to look at Paulina's 
copy-book. The handwriting and spelling were such 
as people of thirteen can do when they are cross. 
Moreover, when the ill-written words were read, they 

D 2 



36 QUESTIONS, [CHAP. 

had not the most distant connection with the subject 
in hand. The reference to the Second Epistle of St. 
John had been looked out by Paulina in the second 
chapter of the Gospel, and so she had set down a 
verse about the marriage of Cana in Galilee, without 
troubling herself for a moment to consider whether 
it could possibly apply. And when Elspeth pointed 
it out, she answered glumly, " It was in the book, 
I'm sure." 

Elspeth was really angry. She had been taught 
so early to find out references that they came as 
easily to her as the alphabet, and perhaps she did 
not quite know how puzzling they might be to a 
beginner ; but the senselessness and inattention pro- 
voked her greatly. 

"This is too bad!" she said. ''Could you not 
think for one moment, instead of making a holy 
subject almost absurd?" 

" It was in the book," doggedly repeated Paulina. 

Then Elspeth looked, but her anger was not 
lessened. *' That is no excuse ! If you had cared 
in the least for what you were about, could you 
not have asked Persis or me ? Besides, here's a 
word left out ! And how do you spell corUrUion ? 



IV.] PETS. 37 

No, Paulina, this will not do. You must write 
that page over again, fit to be seen, instead of 
coming out." 

Persis, who was explaining a picture to little 
Clare, exclaimed, " Oh, Elsie, please ! we never had 
punishments on Sundays." 

" I am very sorry, as sorry as you or Paula can 
be," returned Elspeth gravely ; " but such carelessness 
and temper, especially on such a subject, cannot be 
passed over. It would not be right to take her out 
to enjoy herselt" 

Perhaps Persis recollected that it was not well to 
interfere with her sister's rule, for she said no more ; 
only she lingered when the others were going to put 
on their hats, and said, " Make haste, Paula ; if you 
write all you can, and very nicely, and show it to 
Elsie when she comes down, very likely she . will 
wait for you and let you come." 

" I don't want to come with her," muttered Pau- 
lina, and her head went down between her elbows 
ab Horace's had done at church, so that nothing 
was to be seen save her black bush of hair; and 
when Persis smoothed it, she shook the hand oflf 
with a pettish jerk, but then felt aggrieved and 



38 PENANCE. [CHAP. 

angry when Persis moved quietly away, only first 
putting a fresh, pen near her, in case any of the 
blame of the bad writing should have been due to 
the old one. 

There she remained with her head between her 
elbows, till she heard them clattering downstairs, 
and Ponto's joyous bark as Horace was unchaining 
him. Then she heard Elspeth go to the study 
door. To tell of her ! Horridest sister ! No : " Papa, 
we are going out ; won't you come ? " 

The answer could not be heard, but it must have 
been something about meeting them, for Elspeth 
returned, " We will come back by the avenue. Pray 
do ; it is getting very pleasant." 

The feet ceased to be heard in the hall, the front 
door was closed, and a last echo of merry voices 
came through the window. "There they are, all 
gone out to enjoy themselves," said Paulina to 
herself ; " and here am I left to mope at home, just 
because Elspeth takes a fancy to make us do stupid 
things on Sunday when we can't. I thought Sunday 
was meant for a holiday. Elspeth hasn't got a bit 
of right to spoil it with tiresome stupid lessons — 
when one has done them already, too! Ill not 



IV.] PETS, . 39 

stand it ! I'll not do them ! TU not be put upon ! *' 
and Paulina pushed away the book, reached out 
her arm, and took down " Through the Looking 
Glass," reading it in a dreamy discontented way, 
trying to think she was enjoying it very much ; 
but not even the Knight would entertain her now, 
she was much too sorrowful and- unhappy a victim, 
much too like a Cinderella oppressed by cruel step- 
sisters. Presently she looked up as the voices of 
people in the road sounded cheerfully. " Oh dear ! 
oh dear ! everybody is out of doors and happy but 
me — and I have got these texts to do ! My own 
mamma never made me write texts out ! Oh, I 
wish Sisters hadn't come ; I want my own mamma." 

And then she began crying passionately and 
violently, as she had never before cried for her 
mamma. 

She had cried for a good while and had grown 
tired of it, and begun to draw her sobs more slowly, 
when she heard the sound of the study door, and 
the pause of a tread before the door. Perhaps she 
gave a somewhat louder sob in consequence. At any 
rate, the door was opened and Mr. Quintall said : — 

" What's the matter, now 1 Why aren't you out V 



40 PROMENADING. [chap. 

" Elspeth made me stay/' she sobbed out 

'• Elspeth ! Why ? " 
* *She made me stay in, to write my texts over 
again. And how was I to know that it was the 
Epistle ? " 

" Well, never mind now. Dry up your tears and 
come out. I'll not have you kept in all Sunday I 
Put on your hat." 

Paulina obeyed in no small haste and satisfaction. 
It did not come across her to question whether if 
her account was true it was perfectly honest. She 
only felt the satisfaction of having Papa on her 
side against her sisters. He was not a very talking 
man, and she did not expect a lively walk ; indeed, 
before they had gone far, he met his friend the 
doctor, and they began discussing some matter 
concerning the health of the town, about which she 
neither knew nor cared. 

The avenue was a fine broad quadruple row of 
lime-trees, extending nearly a mile from the main 
street of the town, and the way home from almost 
everywhere. Here, after some little time, the walk- 
ing party were met, with hands full of cowslips 
and bluebells, and Horace with three new cater- 



TV.] PETS. 41 

pillars disposed in different pill-boxes about his 
person. 

Of course they looked much surprised to see 
Paulina, and Elspeth asked in an undertone, " Did 
Papa give you leave ? " 

" Yes, he told me to come." 

"Oh, if Papa gave you leave, it is all right." 

Paulina was very anxious to know what would 
pass with her father about it, but as long as Dr. 
Penrose was present, of course nothing was said, 
and when at the garden gate he had taken leave, 
Paulina only caught thus much by lingering on 
the stairs : — 

" Why did you keep that child indoors crying ? " 

Again she missed Elspeth's answer. 

•Tve no doubt you mean rightly, Elspeth, but 
things may be overdone. I won't have the children 
disgusted, and their religion made a penance to 
them. I don't approve of it." 

Paulina heard a movement, and could not venture 
to stay any longer, but she nodded to herself satis- 
faction at finding that Papa was on her side. She 
never bethought herself how little he reaUy knew 
how she had behaved, yet her fright lest Elspeth 



42 PARTY SPIRIT, [ch. iv. 

- 

sliould show him that unfortunate copy-book might 
have shown her that she knew she was not being 
true and just in all her dealings. 

She was beginning to think her sisters tyrants 
always to be opposed, always trying to oppress, 
and to rank everyone as their supporter or hers. 
In feet, she was learning party spirit 



CHAPTEE V. 



QUADRILLES. 



Monday afternoons were spent at the dancing school, 
and as Miss Lillywhite had a bad cold, Elspeth 
undertook to take Paulina and Aline to the Assem- 
bly Eoom, which was hired for the weekly lessons. 
It was Elspeth's first time of going, and Aline was 
much delighted, only wishing her dear Persis was 
going too, and pouring out an immense quantity 
of information, — rather more, perhaps, than Paulina 
wished. 

"Do you know, Elsie, we are the only pupils 
that come in our own carriage, except the Eays." 

"Because we live the farthest off," suggested 
Elspeth. 

" Oh no, the Browns live further, and come in by 
train. They haven't carriages to come in." 



44 



PERFUME AND PRIMROSE. 



[chap 



" Very likely not," said Elspeth ; '* but it is very 
silly to care about that, Aline. It is manners, not 
carriages, that make man, or woman either." 

" I wonder," pursued Paulina, " whether the Eays 
will be thera That little Tom is so rough and 
horrid !" 

"I didn't know you had boys." 

"Oh yes. Tom Eay is almost a baby, only 
seven years old ; and Cecil Wharton goes, and two 
or three more little fellows like that," said Aline 
very proudly, being herself nine ; " besides Percy 
Grafton." 

"Percy Grafton!" exclaimed Elspeth; "why, he 
is almost a man." 

" Quite," said Aline. And oh, he does wear such 
lovely ties. And he has one pia with a coral death's- 
head on the top, and another with a dear little dog. 
And I wonder if he'll have his primrose-coloured 
gloves this time. I like them best, but Paula likes 
his pale green ones, — don't you, Paula?" 

" No, I like his pale lavender, only he split them 
all across," said Paulina. 

"And his scents. He has sometimes millefleurs, 
and sometimes eau de cologne, and something else I 



v.] QUADRILLES, 45 

can't remember," said Aline. "I wonder who he*ll 
dance with." 

" Whcynhy if you please," said Elspeth. " I should 
think nobody would wish to dance with anyone so 
absurd and conceited." 

Paulina looked very much aflfronted. "He is a 
very fine young man," she said. 

Elspeth laughed, but Aline went chattering on. 
"Oh, every one wants to dance with him," she 
said. "I heard Miss Barker say he was the beau 
of the dancing-room. He always wants to have 
Millicent Airlie for his partner, and she can't 
bear him." 

" She shows her sense," said Elspeth ; " but you 
said just now everyone wished it." 

"Oh, except her. And if she won't have him, 
he generally asks Paulina, or sometimes one of the 

Eays, if Paulina can't, but " 

" Hush, Aline \ don't go on so loud," said Paulina. 
" Here we are." 

" Yes, here's the Assembly Eoom, and there's Milly 
Airlie I Now there's a flight of stone steps, Elsie," 
continued Aline, quite delighted to have to show 
the way. 



46 PARTNERS. [CHAP. 

Millicent Airlie, a nice-looking girl of fifteen, 
neatly dressed in white piqvA, shook hands on the 
steps, and asked Paulina to be her partner. 

" I don't know,'' said Paulina ; " I never will be 
engaged before I go in." 

" Just the contrary to me," said Millicent " Aline, 
then, will you have me ? " 

"Oh yes! thank you," cried Aline, clasping her 
hand with a glad little jump. " I know Mr. Grafton 
wouldn't dance with me ! " 

Elspeth wished her little sisters were as lady-like 
as the daughter of the Vicar of St. Paul's. " Are you 
alone, Millicent ? " she said. 

" Mamma is coming in presently, but she had to 
go to a shop, and sent me on to go in with someone. 
It is very troublesome, but I am to go to my uncle's 
for some grand parties this autumn, and she thought 
I ought to know the steps." 

Paulina held aloof. She knew that Elspeth 
wanted her to make friends with MiUicent Airlie, 
and in her present mood this did not make her 
like her the better. Moreover, she wanted more 
even than usual to dance with Percy Grafton, 
because he was generally the leader of the party 



v.] QUADRILLES. 47 

to the Prince's Quay Eegatta, and she wanted to 
hear all about it from him. He had left Mr. Quick's 
school last half-year, and was improving himself 
in dancing and deportment generally, under the 
tuition of Mrs. Leviti, who came over weekly from 
Prince's Quay, with her husband to act as violinist. 

It was a large room, with a raised step for an 
orchestra, and chairs and benches all along one 
side; Mr. Leviti tuning his violin, and his wife 
and two young lady assistants putting some little 
girls through their arm exercises with poles, while 
the others were waiting on the chairs. Mr. Grafton 
was not come. All the little girls knew one another, 
and there was a great deal of greeting and shaking 
hands; but Elspeth was too new in the place to 
know many people as yet, and none of her acquaint- 
ance were among the mothers and governesses, so 
she sat down to wait for Mrs. Airlie. 

Presently Miss Paulina Quintall was called up 
to handle her pole. Her great fear was lest Percy 
Grafton should come in while she was thus occupied, 
and ask somebody else; and all the time she was 
straightening her arms and balancing the pole, her eyes 
were twisting askew towards the door, but still in vain. 



48 PITCHERS WITH LONG EARS. [chap. 



though she was twice called to order, and told to 
look straight before her. 

All she managed to see out of the comers of her 
eyes was Mrs. Airlie coming in, and, after a good 
many greetings to various people, sitting down by 
Elspeth and beginning to talk. 

By the time they were well in the conversation 
Paulina's exercises were over, and Aline's had begun. 
She had a strong suspicion that Elspeth might be 
consultiDg Mrs. Airlie about the regatta, and so 
she came as near as she could, instead of joining 
any group of little girls. Sure enough it was that 
very thing ! There was a chair in front of them, and 
Paulina had very quick ears, so that, though they 
lowered their voices as she approached, she could 
still catch the most of it. 

"T^s," Mrs. Airlie was saying, "we have never 
allowed our boys to go. (More shame for you! 
thought Paulina.) In fact, they have never seemed 
to wish it. (Poor stupid creatures ! said the girl to 
herself.) We have tried at times to arrange some 
little festivity instead." (Oh, indeed ! some deadly- 
lively old woman's tea-party, I suppose.) 

"Yes," returned Elspeth, "that was what we 



v.] QUADRILLES. 49 

thought of. Another year, if Horace is at home — 
(What! unnatural sister! was she going to send 
Horace from home ?)— and wishes it, we might all go 
down together ; but this year, I cannot think it fit 
to let him go alone with " 

Paulina's attention was taken off, for Percy 
Grafton entered the room in his loveliest pale prim- 
rose gloves. Whom was he looking for ? That was 
a beautiful bow! Ah, the wretch! he was making 
his way to Millicent Airlie. Paulina's heart beat 
with foolish jealousy, though she knew full well 
what Milly's answer would be. " Always engaged ! 
that is too cruel," she heard him say, or rather knew 
that he was saying. 

Then he stood meditating for a moment — and 
was it Elspeth's whisper that Paulina caught : 
'Insufferable puppy! I should like to whip him." 

" Ay," thought Paulina, " you would like to hinder 
anyone from ever speaking to me, shouldn't you? 
And Mrs. Airlie is just as bad ! Hark ! " 

"I think I should have spoken to Madame Leviti, 
only that it must anyway be for a very short time, 
and they all do keep strict silence, and I can quite^ 
depend on Milly " \ 

E 



50 QUIPS, [CHAP. 

- ■ - — — 1 

At that moment Aline was released; Mr. Leviti 
made thi'ee preliminary sounds with his "kit," and 
Percy Grafton advanced to Miss Paulina Quintall 
and requested the honour of her hand, with the 
magnificent formality needful under Madame Levities 
eyes. Millicent had to do the same with Aline — 
in fact, everyone with everyone. No speaking was 
allowed, as Mrs. Airlie said, and yet Paulina had 
contrived a turn of the neck and a whispered 
answer — "Second choice, Mr. Grafton" — ^with what 
she meant to be a look of arch reproach, but if she 
had had Elspeth's eyes she would have thought it 
ridiculous affectation. 

To talk during the figure was manifestly impos- 
sible, but the veteran attendants on the dancing 
school had sundry ingenious contrivances for under- 
standing one another, and there were moments when 
people who cared less for obedience than for being 
found out, could say a good deal to one another. 
If any little one made a mistake, and everyone was 
thrown out while she was set right, there was often 
a low buzz all round, which came to a sudden end 
the moment Madame Leviti looked up. It was in 
one of these sudden pauses, caused by little Eva 



♦ » 



v.] QUADRILLES, 5 1 

Grace going wrong in the chains des dames, that 
Paulina contrived to ask in a hasiy whisper, " Are 
you going to the Eegatta?" 

•* Yes, certainly, the whole party. Are you ?" 

" Oh no, only Horace." 

Here Paulina saw Elspeth looking at her, and 
stood straight, with a composed countenance; but 
as the dance was resumed, and her side stood stiU 
while the others were caxeering across. Percy 
managed to say, with a glance from the corner of 
his eye towards Miss Quintall, "Dragon in human 
form— eh ?" 

A nod and a sigh, and the response, "The 
worst of it is, Pm afraid she won't let Horace 



go." 



" Intolerable ! Can't she be circumvented ?'* 
The second figure was over now, and they had 
to stand still while the third was prepared for, and 
to do their part of the third. Again came a 
blunder: Millicent Airlie had forgotten, and was 
dancing the lady's part. Percy Grafton gave the 
further information :— 

*'The Quagga is to race the Petrel; there are 
bets up to three hundred pounds on it. It is to be 

£ 2 



52 QUAGGA AND PETREL. [chap. 



the best regatta there has been at alL All the 
windows towards the bay are taken." 

" Oh, he must go," cried Panlina, under her breath. 
" How can we manage ?" 

"Could not someone get him out for th^ day?" 
suggested Percy, 

« Oh, but " 

"Paulina!" came a grave voice across the room. 
Percy and Paulina started, shrugged their shoulders, 
and compressed their lips. 

Paulina felt Elspeth's eye upon her all the rest 
of the dancing lesson. How provokingly xmlike dear 
old lilly, who always sat between two of her friends, 
and, if she ever looked up at all, could always be 
daunted with a saucy glance. Anger and determina- 
tion were growing higher and higher every paoment 
in Paulina. N"o, the tyrant sisters should not interfere 
with everybod/s pleasure, and cut the whole family 
off from all their friends. Girls might be under her 
dominion, but Horace should be saved. 

Not another word could be exchanged with Percy 
Grafton till the general break-up. Then, while 
Elspeth was being introduced by Mrs. Airlie to 
some lady who had come with her little girls, and 



v.] QUADRILLES. 53 

had begged to know Miss Quintall, there were a 
few more sentences : — 

" You see how it is, Percy." 

"New brooms sweep clean," he responded; "in 
fact, I believe there's a conspiracy among the fogies. 
Counterplot them, that's the ticket," said Mr. Grafton, 
looking witty. 

« I think I sea" 

" Ah, I knew you had the spirit. Make a begin- 
ning at once. Cfe viejst que, — ^you know the French 
proverb." 

'* Paulina, come and put on your hat." She was 
forced to follow into the cloak room, and there was 
on her face what she thought a very determined look, 
but which was a very sullen one, 

Paula," said Elspeth, as they were going home, 

I thought it was a rule that there was no talking 
at these lessons." 

" I didn't talk." 

" Paulina 1 " 

" Nobody calls that talking ! " 

" Indeed ! " 

" Everybody does it." 

" I do not know what everybody else does, but 






r 

54 * PRIMNESS. [CHAP. V. 

if these lessons are made an opportunity of being 
disobedient and unladylike, I shall put a stop to 
them." 

Paulina had a great mind to say, ''Do you think 
Papa would let you/' but there was a grave, quiet 
resolution about Elspeth that did not make it at all 
easy to be openly impertinent to her. 

But the resolution was taken. She should be 
circumvented. 



CHAPTEE VI. 



PEEVARICATION. 



Yes, Ekpeth was to be circumvented. Whatever 
she might accomplish as to her sisters, Horace's 
liberty was not to be abridged. He was to be 
trusted like other boys, and should go to the Eegatta 
and enjoy himseK, instead of being put off like a 
baby with some stupid little trumpery treat, — a tea- 
drinking in the nursery, or a picnic with the Airlies, 
forsooth I 

Percy Grafton should see that Paulina Quintall 
was a girl of spirit and resource in her brother's 
cause, and was not to be put down by any fine 
prim London-bred sister, coming down to send them 
all to the right-about, and think everything wrong. 

Did no voice within say to Paulina, that, in the 
first place, Horace did not care for the Begatta, and 



56 PERSISTENCE, [chap. 

in the next, that it was no good sister's part to 
promote her brother's going among a set of lads 
who might teach him evil habits, that would perhaps 
cling to him for life? 

Alas ! it is very odd what a difference self-will 
makes, either in our inward voices or our inward 
ears ! If Horace did not care for the yacht racing, 
he ought ! Why should he not be like other boys, 
instead of the muff the elder sisters would like 
to make him ? Temptations ! Paulina had heard 
of such things, but she believed them to be what 
stupid, tiresome people talked of when they wanted 
to prevent their unfortunate victims from enjoying 
themselves or having any fun. She felt herself 
a high-spirited, generous sister, standing up for her 
brother and his rights, and she entirely forgot that 
the reason she cared so much for Horace's having 
this entertainment, was not because she showed 
symptoms of disappointment, but because Elspeth 
had offended her. 

Paulina believed that she would not tell a false- 
hood, but she had never quite learnt to think a 
subterfuge wrong. 

Now, about seven miles off, lived her old great- 



VI. ] PRE VARICA TION. 5 J 

^ J_MJ._JI_.Ml_IBl ■ !■ ■ I - -■- ■ — ^ 

uncle, Mr. Proudfoot. He was the head of the 
Proudfoot family, and had a large, very pleasant estate 
and faim, but he was very old, and nearly blind, 
and things were chiefly managed in the house by 
liis old housekeeper, Mrs. Eebekah Saunders, of 
whom all his young visitors were very fond, for 
they were petted to their heart's content, and 
allowed to skim the cream, and eat the preserves, 
and play in the great spare attics, and roast chest- 
nuts in the ashes, and do everything else that 
was thought delightful. Horace was an especial 
favourite with both master and maid, and was 
every now and then invited to spend a day at the 
farm, which he could easily reach by going in the 
morning train to the nearest station, walking a little 
more than a mile, and returninc^ in the same way 
in the evening. 

Mr. Proudfoot was too blind to write, and once 
or twice when he had wanted Horace to come out 
to him, he had made Eebekah mark the day in a 
corner of one of his cards and send it by the post, 
and this was quite understood in the family. It 
struck Paulina that if Horace could show such a card 
to his father, with the day of the Regatta marked on 



,58 QUERIES. [CHAP. 

it, Mr. Quintall would not hesitate for a moment to 
grant the holiday^ and Elspeth would probably be 
only too glad to have him so safely disposed of. 

" There will be no telling falsehoods," said Paulina 
to herself; " only showing the card." 

Yet surely she must have known that a falsehood 
in action was very like a falsehood in word, or else 
why should she have watched everybody out of the 
room before she began to search in the card basket, 
and given such a violent start when Aline came in 
and asked what she was looking for ? 

" Oh, I was just seeing if— if there was a card fit 
to make a pincushion on." 

And she began looking at the cards, as if con- 
sidering them, telling herself that it was quite true, 
since she should see if there were one suited to her 
purpose. How horribly inconvenient it was in Aline 
to ask what the pincushion was to be made of. 
" Oh, I don't know ; I've got a bit of ribbon." 

" Oh, Paula ! you don't mean to cut that beautiful 
bit with the pagodas and Chinamen upon it ? It 
you do, please give me a comer." 

"Don't bother so, Aline. You worry so, I don't 
know what I'm about." 



VI.] PREVARICATION, 59 

Poor little Aline was not conscious of any parti- 
cular bothering, but she was pretty well used to 
being hunted about by Paula, and could take it 
meekly. 

No card of Mr. Proudfoot was in the basket, as 
in fact he never left one. But Paulina still had a 
resource. Mrs. Saunders — Becky, as her favourites 
called her — was, as she well knew, quite ready to 
pity and sympathise with the children of her mas- 
ter's niece, and to expect that they must be oppressed 
by their half-sisters. So she would write to her, and 
beg her to say nothing to her master, but to send his 
card or an envelope addressed to Paulina herself, 
putting the date in the corner. 

The diflSculty was to write the letter without 
being asked to whom she was writing; and here 
Paulina was obliged to resort to another contrivance. 
She dawdled purposely over learning her lessons for 
the next day, and when Aline and the little ones 
were going down after the elders' dinner, she said, as 
naturally as she could, that she had not finished her 
tiresome geogi^aphy, and could not come ; there were 
ever so many horrid places in the interior of Africa 
to be looked out 



6o PRYING SISTERS, [chap. 

Hiis made a very good excuse for putting the 
globe on the table as a screen, and spreading a great 
atlas before her, in the middle of which lay her 
geography-book, and within that a sheet of note- 
paper; the inkstand could be reached by making a 
long arm over the map of Africa, and Paulina 
began — 

" My dear darling old Becky, — I know you will 
be a ducky darling, and help your pet in a bother, and 
hold your tongue, like a good old darling as she was. 
Horace wants a holiday terribly on the 20th : he has 
always had one to go to the Eegatta, but my sisters 
are making a fuss and trying to hinder him, which 
is a gi'eat shame. Now, dear Becky, do please stand 
our friend, and just -" 

Hark! What was that? A footstep! What a 
start ! Down goes a drop of ink in the middle of 
Timbuctoo! A hand on the door — ^whisk goes the 
letter under the atlas ! Oh, what a dreadful thing 
to have tiresome, troublesome, horrid, prying half- 
sisters ! 

" My poor Paula," — ^it was Persis' gentle voice, — 
" this is very nice and steady of you." 

Paulina's heart would have felt a pang, only it was 



VI. ] PRE VARICA TION. 6 1 

stifled by tlie fancy that this good-nature was only 
an excuse for coming to see what she was about.- 

"How close and dismal the room feels," said 
Persis, drawing up the blind, and opening the 
window wider. " N"o wonder you felt stupid and 
could not get on. Here, let us try if we cannot find 
the places together — which are they ? " 

" Oh, let me see," said Paula, exceedingly afraid 
that the atlas would be moved and her letter dis- 
covered. " There's what's his name — Ticonderoga." 

" There surely is not a Ticonderoga in Africa," 
said Persis. " I thought it was a fort in America. 
Let me look." 

Paulina rather rudely held the atlas fast, and 
muttered, "Pve just done, if you'll only let me 
alone." 

"Only do let me make out about this place for 
my own satisfaction," said Persis. " Let me see the 
book." 

" There ! " said Paulina, crossly. " I like to learn 
my lessons by myself." 

" That's a change," said Persis, smiling, for at first 
Paulina had always been crying out for her help. 
"Has Elsie taught you self-reliance, as she calls it? 



62 PAGES BLOTTED, [CHAP. 

Ticonderoga ! My dear, it is Timbuctoo ! And no 
wonder you could not see it, under that terrible 
spot of ink ! Why, it is fresh ! " 

** Is it ? " said Paulina, still thinking that she was 
guilty of no untruth. 

" Quite fresh ! So much the worse for my fingers 
and the map," said Persis. "What a pity! How 
could it have happened? What have you been 
doing, Paula? You never should have ink about 
and map-books open." 

Persis was so true herself that she was entirely 
unsuspicious ; otherwise she could hardly have failed 
to perceive that there was something wrong when 
Paulina, in a dreadful fright, held the atlas fast, 
lest it should be lifted up, and almost said, "Oh, 
don't ! " 

"I think I had better fetch some of my soft 
blotting-paper," said Persis. " Nothing takes up ink 
so well." 

And while she was gone to her room for it, Paula 
popped the letter into a drawer and breathed more 
freely ; but this most inconvenient Persis had no 
sooner so taken up the ink that it remained only 
a little cloudiness, to express, as she said, the black- 



\ 

I 



VI.] PREVARICATION, 63 

ness of the negro country, than she began to say, " 1 
think Elsie will hardly be able to find out where the 
mischief was." 

" I don't see why she should ever find it out at 
all," said Paulina. 

" Why, of course you will teU her." 

" There's no use. That old atlas is all over ink- 
spots . ah^eady in England and Europe, and nobody 
ever thought of telling anybody." 

And Paulina turned the pages to a place where 
Ireland was spotted over like a plum-pudding. 
Horace had done it one day when the last governess 
had set him an imposition before he went to school ; 
but she was too cross and guilty to mention the 
ridiculous scene when it was found out. 

" Well," said Persis, " the poor book does seem to 
be in a bad way, but I never could be happy to have 
done the smallest damage without confessing it." 

" I don't teU lies," said Paulina snappishly, feeling 
as if resenting the supposed injustice vindicated her 
from all that made her feel uncomfortable. 

'* I should trust not, indeed," said Persis with a 
shudder. "Dear Paula, how can you speak of q,ny- 
thing so dreadful? I only meant that the safest 



64 PAULA'S TROUBLE. [chap. 

way for oneself and other people is to mention every 
little thing the moment it happens." 

" I don't call this anything," sulkily answered 
Paulina^ partly resolved against yielding to Persis, 
and partly in dread of bringing upon herself Elspeth's 
inquiry what she was doing with the ink. 

Persis desisted, seeing that it was of no use, and 
perceiving that respect for the atlas was so lost that 
the injury to it was hardly viewed as mischief; so 
that for her to mention it was hardly a duty, and 
might make Paulina view her as a tell-tale. 

However, she kindly stayed, and helped Paulina 
to search out several places with long and uncouth 
names, not getting much gratitude, for of course the 
girl was only burning to be rid of her. Nay, she 
even stayed to help to put away the books, and thus 
took away all chance of finishing the letter or even 
getting it out of the drawer where it had been 
hidden, and which was a very dangerous place. 

The only way that Paula could manage now, was 
that after spending her hour in the garden, where all 
were sitting out after dinner, when she bade good- 
night, she exclaimed to Aline, " IVe left something 
in the school-room," and darted off into it. She 



VL] PREVARICATION. 6$ 

T--I --- - - _■ ■■-.,■ ^ .. ■ - 

shut the letter into a book and carried it upstairs 
with her, and in the evening light she sat up in 
bed and finished in pencil : — 

"You see how I am put about to write, dear 
ducky daddies ; I am writing this in bed, because 
they watch me so. If you will just put one of 
Uncle Proudfoot's cards in an envelope, and write 
the * 20th ' in the corner and send it to me, I can 
get poor Horace his holiday, and it will be all 
right ; only don't tell my uncle. I am sure you can 
manage it, and that you will be the dear old thing 
you always wera Mind you address the envelope 
to me, and say nothing about it. 

" I am, your aflfectionate 

" P. Q." 

It was not so difficult to contrive the getting the 
letter into the envelope and addressing it, for that 
took so short a time that Paulina could manage it by 
getting up early and spending a few minutes in the 
schoolroom before meeting Persis in Horace's room 
to feed the caterpillars. 

There was a pillar post not very far from the 
gate. Paulina put on her hat — not a veiy usual 
practice with her when she was only going to get 

F 



66 ' PILLAR POST. [CHAP. 

leaves for the caterpillars — ran headlong downstaiiy, 
out at the door, and through the iron gate. It 
opened easily from the inside, and in a few seconds 
she was dropping her letter into the slit in the 
pillar. 

But oh, she had forgotten. The gate had shut 
itself, and there w£is no means of opening it from 
the outside. There was Paulina Quintall, with no 
gloves, only her hat, shut out into the street. She 
was beginning to find out how prickly are all ways 
outside the straight one. Indeed, it is hardly true 
to say she was beginning, for it was not the first 
time Paulina had manoeuvred, or she could hardly 
have done it so readily. She hurried across the 
road — it was half road, half street here — and at 
haphazard gathered a handful of green leaves and 
grass from the hedge cm the opposite side, and 
then rang the belL She had never been afraid of 
being alone in the street before, but she certainly 
did not like it now, feeling sure that she could 
not be looking like a lady, and not at all certain 
what would happen to her. 

She waited long, and rang again, and she gave 
^u^ch a start at the voice within. 



VI.] 



PRE V A RICA TION. 



67 



"Einging again! Mind, I won't have none of 
that! I shan't answer the door for a quarter of 
an hour if I have any more of that." 

"Susan!" called Paulina. 

" Bless me, if it is not Miss Paulina ! Well, if 
ever ! " 

Paulina held up her leaves. "I got these for 
the caterpiQars, and was shut out." 

So she ran past Susan and reached Palmer- 
worm Park safely and unsuspected; and, alas! 
she only felt her escape, not how evil her deceit 
must be. 



^2 



CHAPTER VIL 

QUANDAEIES. 

Patjuna's next anxiety was about Eebekah's answer. 
She did not at all want to have the letter put into 
her hands before everybody, when Aline — if not 
one of the elder sisters — ^would be sure to exclaim, 
'* Who can be writing to you, Paula?" and would 
think it very strange if she did not open it at once. 
She wished she had desired Eebekah to direct it 
to the post-ofiSce, so that it might lie there till 
it was called for; but there were two dangers in 
doing this — one, that Eebekah woidd not understand 
too many directions, and the other, that she would 
imderstand too well that there was something under- 
hand, and carry the letter to her master, though 
it was not easy to believe that dear old Becky would 
be so treacherous. 



CHAP. VII. QUANDARIES, 69 

Letters used of course to come in the morning, 
and the country posts also came in the afternoon, 
when they used to lie at the ofi&ce till six o'clock, 
unless anyone inquired there after them; and if 
Mr. Quintall expected any letter in particular, he 
sometimes sent down one of the clerks from the 
bank, or sometimes called himself on his way home, 
and brought in the family letters. 

This was what Paulina greatly wished to avoid. 
She knew that her having received the envelope 
might be remembered when the card was produced, 
and that it would be even more dangerous than 
the post-box in the morning, into which, if she had 
good luck, she might manage to fish before anyone 
else looked in. 

No one ever said a truer word than Sir Walter 
Scott when he wrote — 

** Oh, what a tangled web we weave, 
When first we practise to deceive." 

Paulina was full in the midst of this web as 
she racked her brains to find an excuse for going 
to the post-oflBce. She could not say she wanted 
stamps, for some had just been given to her. Sho 



70 PLEASE TAKE ME. [ckap. 

must make an excuse for getting into the street, 
and then trust to luck. 

However, fortune favoured her, for at luncheon — 
the children's dinner — ^Elspeth said, "I think I 
must go into the town this afternoon; I want some 
drawing paper and some other things." ^ 

"Oh, please let me come," cried Aline; ''I 
want ^" and she paused. 

"Do you know what, Alie?" asked Elspeth, 
laughing. " I observe that a whole string of wants 
spring up as soon as anyone is going into the 
town." 

"Oh, but I do really want some Turkish 
delight." 

"Nonsense, Alie," said Paulina, who had taken 
her resolution. "Take me, Elsie; I do really want 
some perforated card." 

"Me too," cried Olive; "I do really want to 
spend my penny." ' 

" Me too," cried little Clare ; " me do reelly want 
sweeties." 

"Haven't you b, ^me do reelly want^ too, Persie?" 
said Elspeth, laughing. 

"Persie is grown up," said Aline. 



ni.] QUANDARIES. 7 1 

"Ah, Ali Baba," said Elspeth good-humouredly, 
"if you begin hatching wants at your age, you 
won't stop when you are grown up!" 

"I can truly say, me do redly want — not to go 
into Peterskirk," said Persis decidedly, for she did 
not like the town at all — a thing which greatly 
amazed her little sisters. 

" Very well, then ; Paula is the only one who has 
a sensible reason for wanting to go with me," said 
Elspeth. " No, Alie ; Turkish delight is not at all a 
sensible want for a young lady of nine years old, 
who can have plenty of good fruit ; and little Olive 
wiU learn some day that the mere want to spend 
her penny is more silly still. Perhaps Persie will 
take you all out to get some wild roses, and see 
if the wood strawberries are ripe, while Paula and 
I go into the town." 

"I want some perforated card to make a pin- 
cushion too," said Aline, pouting a little. 

"Me too," cried Olive; "I want some card." 

"Me too," added Clare; "a pretty tard with a 
wobbin on it." 

"SiQy little echoes," said Elspeth merrily; "you 
tliink you have found the right note. Hadn't you 



72 PEEPING IN. [CHAP. 



better say at once that you all want a little peeping 
in at the shop-windows?" 

"Oh, but won't you let us have it?" entreated 
Aline. 

" N"o, Aline ; we can't go in so many to the shops. 
You little ones must take turns to go in with us. 
And, above all, when you want to do a thing, say 
so straightforwardly, at once, and don't look about 
for reasons which are not direct." 

These last words made Paulina feel very cross, 
and think Elspeth must suspect something, and be 
talking at her. Such a thing it is to have a guilty 
conscience. 

As they walked into the town, she never saw 
Elspeth look towards her without fancying that 
she suspected something; and when they reached 
the shop where drawing materials were sold, her 
heart gave a great throb, as if she were doing 
something very dangerous, when she ventured to 
ask whether she might run on to the worsted shop 
while Elspeth was choosing her drawing paper, 
and get her perforated card. The consent came 
quite easily, and almost made her feel ashamed. 
The fact was that a birthday was not far off, and 



va] QUANDARIES, 73 

Elspeth knew the delight of secret contrivances for 
making up presents as a surprise, and thought that 
this might account for Paulina's desire to go shopping 
by herself. 

Away then posted Paulina, going so fast that she 
almost tumbled into a perambulator round the 
corner, and quite ran against a woman with a 
market basket, who seemed inclined to give her a 
good scolding. 

And when she reached the post-ofl&ce, she found 
getting the letters no such rapid business. Quan- 
tities of people seemed to be there wanting orders, 
or letters, or stamps, or something, and they were 
all attended to in turn, on the principle of " first 
come, first served," which hurt her dignity very 
much. She did not like to see a common soldier 
or a little scrubby maidservant attended to before 
Miss Paulina Quintall; and, besides, suppose she 
was kept waiting too long, and Elspeth were to 
suspect ! 

However, her pride was thus far flattered, though 
with a great fright at first. "Miss Quintall, can I 
do anything for you ? " said a voice a little in front 
of her. She gave a start, and then perceived that 



74 AfISS p. QUINTAI^L. [chap. 



the voice came from one of the young clerks in 
the bank, and she was able to feel herself a little 
grand again, as she answered, "Thank you, Mr. 
Bakewell, if you would ask for our letters." 

Mr. Bakewell signed acquiescence, and Paulina 
stood a little out of the line of people waiting, 
— ^gettijjg, however, jostled by all who were going 
away, aiid feeling more cross and frightened every 
minute, as she wondered whether she had better 
caution Mr. Bakewell against telling her father he 
had met her there, and then deciding that there was 
such a distance between one of the partners and the 
junior clerk that nothing was more unlikely than 
that he should mention any such thing. 

His presence saved her full ten minutes' waiting, 
as he had been there for some time before her ; but 
still she had been kept so long, that when a letter 
addressed to Miss P. Quintall was put into her hand, 
she durst not stop to read or to look at it, but put it 
into her pocket and hurried away, scarcely thanking 
Mr. Bakewell. 

She had really forgotten all about the perforated 
card, and was in full career back again, when 
straight before her she saw Elspeth! 



VII.] QUANDARIES. 75 

"My dear, what a time you have been! I was 
going to the worsted shop in search of you." 

" I have not been there," said Paulina, colouring, 
but still trying to. persuade her conscience that she 
was speaking truth. " I did not think I should find 
just what I wanted there, and so I went on further." 

"You should have told me if you intended it," 
said Elspeth. " Your going into a shop three doors 
off is very different from your wandering half 
over the town by yourself. I do not think Papa 
would like it." 

" I have often been by myself," growled Paulina. 

"With Papa's knowledge? — eh? However, we 
will not say any more about it now. Have you got 
what you wanted?" 

Paulina, had actually answered Yes, but she recol- 
lected that Aline and all the rest would come crowd- 
ing round expecting to see her card, so, with a 
stammer and falter, she said " Yes ; at least I must 
still get a bit of card here." 

Elspeth had never been so near suspecting some- 
thing wrong. Indeed she would have quite sus- 
pected it if it had not been for the approaching 
birthday, for Paulina bought her card in an inatten- 



76 PRICKLES, [CHAP. VII. 

tive hurry, very unlike a person who had just been 
taking so much trouble about her materials. She 
did not know whether she wanted it coarse or fine, 
broad or narrow, nor how much she required, so that 
Elspeth could not help saying gently, " My dear, you 
should always know your own mind before you come 
shopping, or you are very unnecessarily troublesoma" 
Paulina shook her shoulders. She was in a state 
of mind all over prickles, in which the slightest 
reproof made her think of the Fs and Q's, and feel 
justified in any kind of underhand resistance to such 
tiresome, fussy half-sisters. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



p. AND P. 



Not till Pauliua was in her own room taking off 
her things did she venture to open her envelope. 
Eagerly she tore it open ; it stuck very fast, all along 
the edges, and she tore right through the back before 
she could get it open. 

Behold, there was no card in it ; it was all letter, 
three sheets, in a crampy-lookmg hand, beginning 
"My dear child." 

Was Becky actually venturing on calling her so ? 
Surely that was very impertinent, if the old thing 
were ever so tiresome, in giving her a lecture instead 
of doing as she was asked. Paulina stamped on the 
ground with impatience and anger at the insolence^ 
and the vexation that the Sisters should get their 
own way, and oppress poor Horace after all 

Then it struck her that the writing was not like 



78 UNCLE PROUDFOOT. [chap. 

that of an old servant. It might be worse. She 
had heard something about Uncle Proudfoot being 
able to write, though he could not read. That 
dreadful old Rebekah must actually have gone and 
told him, and he had written her a scolding. Of 
course that was it. Did it not begin — 

"My dear Child, — ^You ask me " 

When old people began in that way, how could 
they expect young ones to have any patience to read 
their letters? No, no; Uncle Proudfoot and his 
lecture would keep, and he might have stood by his 
own niece's children better than to let them be 
ground down by the Trefusis kind ! Elspeth's mis- 

• deeds and Horace's disappointment were always 
growing in Paulina's eyes. 

Aline came racing into the room to look at the 
purchases, and she hastily thrust the letter into her 
pocket, intending to think no more about it, and 
make away with it when she had an opportunity. 
She was sure that she had quite lectures enough 
from her sisters by word of mouth, without troubling 
herself to read them in cross old Uncle Proudfoot's 
crooked writing. 

She answered Aline in the same ill-tempered way 



vin.] P. A^^D P. 79 



as to what she meant to do with her card. " Was it 
to be anything for Persis' birthday ? " 

" No ! There was quite fuss enough about Persis 
abeady." 

" Oh, but Persis is such a duck ! " said Aline. 
" Only think, Paula, she told us stories all the way. 
She told us about the Princess that held her tongue 
and sewed the nettle shirts for her brothers." 

Paulina felt as if she was doing it. " And, Paula," 
went on Aline, " if you would only let me have a 
little bit of your card, I would make a book-marker 
for Persie. I could do it all myself I May I ? " 

" Don't keep bothering," said Paulina. " You care 
for nothing else but what is new, and pets and spoils 
you. Now, I care too much for my own mamma to 
make up to what is new." 

"But Persis doesn't want us to forget our own 
mamma," said Aline. *' We went to the High Wood 
to-day, and Persie and I made the most beautiful 
wreath of wood anemones and blue periwinkles that 
I ever saw, and we went home by the cemetery and 
put it on her grave." 

" All flummery, and I hate it," said Paula, angrily ; 
not that she did really hate anything but the being 



8o A PICNIC POSSIBLE. [chap. 

forced to acknowledge kindness in her half-sisters. 
" Why can't they be a little kind to poor Horace, 
instead of their flowers and things ! " 

" Kind to Horace !" Aline opened her eyes. 

" Ay I hindering him from the Regatta for Lilly's 
nonsense and Mrs. Airlie's." 

'^ But Horace doesn't want to go to the Eegatta," 
said Aline. 

" Oh, nonsense I that's the way they make you 
and him give way to them. But I care for old ways, 
not for new fancies and fashions!" 

" But, Paula, aren't you almost sure that we are 
all going to do something ever so nice instead? 
Do you know I almost think it will be a picnic 
on Quack Common. I am sure there is a great 
secret; and oh, wouldn't that be nice?" 

" No ! not if it is instead of the Eegatta, and all 
bothered up with the Airlies," answered Paulina, 
flouncing away in the determination to have her 
grievance, now that her machinations had proved 
unsuccessful, and only brought a lecture upon her. 

Only as she sat at tea did it flash upon her that 
it was possible that worse things still might be in 
stora Uncle Proudfoot might mean to tell Papa I 



vni.l P. AND P. 8 1 

She most read his letter^ reproofs and all, and see 
whether there were any danger of anything so 
shocking, or if she could do anjrthing to prevent 
it* !tTo sooner had this thought occurred than she 
became ahnost wild to make an opportunity of read- 
ing the letter; but with Aline sitting opposite to 
her, sighing over a French verb and watching for 
any possible distraction, this was quite impossible. 

At last, however. Aline had finished, and ran 
away to dress; and Paulina, who had found that 
no word would stay a moment in her head — ^nay, 
that her eyes could scarcely see rightly while this 
dreadful alarm was on her mind — ^took the letter 
out of her pocket, laid it on her old friend the 
atlas, and began to spell it out again. 

"My dear child," it began, — "you ask me '' 

So far was plain in the first two lines, but then 
came seven or eight words together that Paula could 
not make out at aU. It was really very illegible 
writing; anyone would have found it so: and "love,** 
"father," sacrifice," were all she could make out at 
long intervals apart, and she could see nothing looking 
in the least like the words Horace, Prince's Quay, or 
Eegatta, insomuch that she began to doubt whether 

o 



82 QUIf [CHAP. 

it were not all a mistake, or whether it had anything 
to do with the matter at alL She hastily looked 
at the end. It was a good deal crowded up into 
the space over the commencement, but she made 
out the letters " Ever y" a"', K U." 

About the " K U." there could be no doubt, for 
they were more like printing than manuscript letters. 
Paula had not a " K. U." among all her acquaintance I 
She looked again, and saw an address in white em- 
bossed letters, stamped on the sheets of paper. It 
was the number and street of a house in London. 
It was plain now that it was a letter to Persis — 
Miss P. Quintall, too. What business had people to 
write such stupid directions! 

And now what was to be done? Put it back 
into the envelope and pop it into the post-box in 
the door, so that it might come out with the other 
letters in the morning? Alas ! the envelope was far 
too much torn for this to be possible 1 

Give it to Persis, asking her ppjdoji and explain- 
ing that it hiad been opened by mistake? Then 
Paula's expedition to the post-office must have been 
mentioned, and all her plans would have become 
known. 



viii.] p. AND P. 83 

And while she was thinking, up came footsteps, 
and .Aline — ^tiresome, perpetual Aline — ^flew into 
the room. 

"Oh, Paula! only think," she cried. "But what 
have you got there?" 

"Oh, nothing!" said she, hastily crunching the 
letter anyhow into her pocket. 

"Well," said Aline breathlessly, "only think — 
Elsie and Persie have coaxed Papa out on the lawn 
to play at croquet, and if you don't want to play, 
I may." 

" Papa can't play," said Paulina, getting up slowly. 

" No, but they are going to teach him ! Isn't it 
fun ? Please, Paula, say whether you want to play, 
for they are waiting to begin, and I may play if 
you won't." 

Paulina had no desire to play. She had rather 
have puzzled over the "K. U.," but she was in a 
dog-in-the-manger temper, and the sight of Aline 
wishing for the game immediately decided her on 
asserting her rights as eldest, and playing herself. 

"Tou aren't fit to play," she said; "one person 

who doesn't understand it is quite enough in a 

game." 

o 2 



84 ^ PUPIL. [CHAF, 

Aline looked much disappointed. 

"Indeed, Paula, Persie said I played very well 
last Saturday.'* 

"I don't care how Persis pets you; I know you 
can't play." 

And down ran Paulina in a great hurry, unable 
to get rid of the letter, which, in its crumpled state, 
hulged out in her pocket. 

Mr. QuintaU had been persuaded to come out on 
the lawn, not imwiUingly, but protesting that he 
knew nothing about it ; and Elspeth and Persis were 
merrily showing him how to hold the mallet, and 
the various devices of the game. He was a slow, 
deliberate man in his ways, and never seemed to 
care much for amusement, but his daughters thought 
that he worked too hard and incessantly, and were 
always trying to lure him into relaxations. 

He took up his mallet in a steady, earnest way, 
and, new as he was to the game, he gave such hits 
that the ball seemed to understand him, and go 
wherever he wished. 

" Quite right. Papa," cried Elspeth ; " you'U be as 
good a player as Kenneth Urquhart, — ^won't he, 
Persie?" 



VIII.] P, AND P. 85 

"Wlio is Kenneth Urquharti" asked Mr. QuintalL 

"Oh, don't you know?" said Elspeth, laughing. 
"Blue — ^Paula, it's you to play." And Paulina was 
obliged to go after her ball, which, in her vexation, 
she drove against the hoop, rebounding far ; and the 
first thing she heard again was in her father's voice, 
after delivering his ball: — 

"Mr. Urquhart is very ultra, I believe." 

"You know we don't think so," said Elspeth, 
in a bright outspoken tone, while Persis' face 
crimsoned over under her hat. " I do not believe 
you would think so either, if you knew him," 
added Elspeth, looking bravely up to her father. 

" I don't wish to know him. I should have cau- 
tioned your aunts, if I had guessed what was going 
on 1 Why, Persie, even the novice that I am could 
have made a better stroke than that." 

For Persis had struck with a trembling, ineffective 
hand, and her ball had gone a very little way 
towards the hoop. " The two P.'s are in a bad way," 
laughed Elspeth, giving her mind to the game in a 
moment "We shall have only too easy a victory. 
Papa ! Look out, Persie." 

Click went Elspeth's ball against Persie's, and for 



86 PERTURBATION. [chap, 

the next few turns she had it all her own way. 
Then Paulina felt impelled to retrieve her cause, and 
as she could really play very well, she brought her 
ball back, and had such a run of luck that she 
became keenly interested. Persis, too, had recovered 
herself, and the success of both together brought 
matters into a very exciting state. Paulina was in 
despair for her blue balL Would her father send it 
entirely away ? Was there not a hope that he would 
not see it ? She stood near it, almost over it, in 
hopes that his ignorance of the game would save 
it. Behold, her own partner betrayed her ! It was 
Persis who called, " Paula, take care ; do you know 
where you are standing ?" 

Paulina moved away. '* How could you, Persie ?" 
she asked under her breath. " There !" as her father 
called out, " See, Miss Polly, there's an end of your 
triumph. Mend that if you can, Persie," as he used 
his advantage to pursue the ball of the other P. 

"There! you've spoilt our chance," said Paulina, 
crossly, though still very low. 
. " Hush, Paula !" said Persis, with much more dis- 
pleasure than her gentleness usually showed. " It is 
well for you that Papa and Elsie did not see you. 



VIII.] p. AND p. 87 

Do you think I would win a game by unfair, under- 
hand ways?" 

Paulina reddened with anger. All her gleam of. 
good-humour had vanished. "Everyone does it," 
she muttered between her teeth, as Persis moved 
forth to try to bring back her unfortunate balL 
" Tm sure Persis has no business to make such a fuss 
about underhand ways I I wonder how she would 
like to know what sort of a letter I have in my 
pocket! But I'm one who can put two and two 
together! And she to talk to me of underhand 
ways !" 

"Paula! play. You've got your ball to re- 
cover," caUed Elspeth, interrupting her meditations. 
" Why," as she passed across, " one would think you 
had pocketed the balL What have you got sticking 
out there ?" 

"Oh, just some papers," said Paulina, putting 
down her hand and squeezing them tighter, in hopes 
tQ make them flatter ; and, in spite of her fright, 
thinking, " Suppose I did bring them out, how would 
Mrs. Persie look about being underhand, forsooth ?" 



CHAPTEEIX. 

Q IN THE COBNER 

The conversation in the croquet-ground had shed 
a light on affairs. Paulina knew that the name 
Urquhart was spelt with a "U/* and not as her ear 
would have told her, ErTdrt, for she had heard her 
sisters tell droll stories of misdirections of letters^ 
and it occurred to her that she had seen ''From 
K* U." in more than one hook of her sister's. The 
*'K U/* in the comer was no doubt Kenneth Urquhart, 
this prime croquet player, at whose name Persia 
blushed, lost her power of making a stroke, and 
against whom her father wished he had cautioned 
her aunt. 

Paulina's eyes and ears had not been very closely 
watched over. She had listened to a great deal of 
idle gossip among the people who came to sit with 



I 



CHAP. IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 89 

her mamma, and she had also read whatever she 
pleased in fhe many books that came from the 
circulating Hbrary to amuse the many houis that 
Mrs. Quintall spent as an invalid. This had made 
her old of her age, and filled her with fooUsh fancies 
and speculations aboiit grown-np life, when she was 
not old enough really to understand anything 
about it. 

And so it was that she could gather so plainly that 
this Kenneth Urquhart was in love with Persis, and 
that, as her father so strongly disapproved, they corre- 
sponded in secret. To think that it was reaUy and 
truly a love-letter that she carried crushed up in her 
pocket 1 Paulina felt all the taller for it, however it 
had come about, and was all the more ardent for 
another study of it. Since she had looked once, and 
could never give it to Persis as it was, she had the 
less scruple in looking at it again. She did so want 
to see what real people said to one another when 
they were in love. It could do no harm ; or, if it 
did, Persis quite deserved it for making such a fuss 
about being open when she was herself deceiving 
Papa. 

So Paulina $rot the letter out of her pocket. 



90 CURIOSITY, [CHAP. 

smoothed it out^ and proceeded to trj to read it, as 
she had written her own, by the evening light after 
she had gone to bed. 

** My dear child," — ^yes, that was just what some oi 
the lovers in Mamma's books were apt to call their 
ladies; that was all right; — "you ask me" — Oh 
dear ! " K U." did write a shocking hand, to be sure I 
What could he say Persis had asked him ? Some- 
thing about her father's wishes ; that was clear. But 
what, entirely baffled Paula ; there was something a 
little farther off like " compensate for the sistcrifice," 
and then followed some crookbacked things and 
curly tails and looped heads, that Paula could no 
more make out than the hieroglyphics in the British 
Museum. "In — ^fleece" — ^yes, fleece she thought she 
read. Could it mean the "Heece" — ^the "Golden 
Fleece " — the principal hotel in the town — a very old 
one, where aU the post-horses and flys were kept ? 
Yes, here was the word "fly." Could "KU." be 
coming to the " Pleece " to meet Persis ? Here, too, 
was a word that must be "destiny," and another 
before it something like "link." How hard it was 
that the writing should be so exceedingly trouble- 
some to read ! And here was darkness making the 



IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 9 1 



difficulty all the greater. It was of no use to go on 
But what was to be done with the letter? Here 
was a step coming 1 The maid to shut the shutters ! 
Under the pillow with the letter ! That would do 
for the time; — but for the future? Nay, even as 
Anne came in, the crackling of the paper seemed so 
loud in Paulina's ears that no one could choose but 
hear it. However, Anne made all dark, and went 
away unsuspicious, leaving Paulina wide awake — so 
wide, that it seemed as if she could never sleep 
again — ^wondering over her strange discovery. 

Persis must be in love ! Papa must disapprove of it, 
and she must be having letters in secret No doubt 
this " K. XJ." in the comer was Kenneth Urquhart, 
and he was telling her that he would come down 
to the "Golden Fleece," and then he would meet 
her. Where ? Paulina's heart beat with the excite- 
ment of such a wonderful discovery. Persis — quiet, 
gentle Persis — ^who had always seemed so exceedingly 
good and docile- -whom Elspeth held up as an 
example, and who so often stood between her sisters 
and the displeasure of sharper, sterner Elspeth — 
Persis, with her caressing manner towards her father, 
her love for all that was scood ! She to be carrying 



92 PEEPING, [CHAP. 

on an underhand engagement and a clandestine 
coirespondence I 

Maybe the wonder and excitement, the interest 
and cnriosity^ would have made Paulina feel friendly 
towards the.lovers, but for the hostile spirit she was 
feeling towards both her step-sisters, which made her 
look upon the discovery as something to be used for 
her own defence and protection if they *' put upon " 
her any more — something that gave her the solace of 
finding that Fersis at least was not so good as she 
was supposed, and that when the Sisters preached 
about being true and upright and straightforward, 
they only meant it for the children, and not for 
themselves. 

Therewith Paulina's thoughts began to get con- 
fused, until she saw Persis whispering to Percy, as 
she danced quadrilles on the deck of a jracht, while 
somehow the waves and cordage and everything else 
would make a crackling sound, and presently she 
saw that all the sails of the yacht were made ot 
letters which were all over Pemii caterpillars — eating, 
eating them ever so fast, so that the ship would soon 
not be able to sail; it would stop, it would sink, and 
then it was sinking — the waves came crackle, crackle 



IX.] Q IN THE CORNER. 93 

round Paulina's ears, and awoke her; and then she 
remembered that it was all that unlucky letter under 
the pillow, — and yet, after aU, it made so very little 
noise in reality when she turned her head, that her 
conscience must have had the most to do with it. 

What was to be done ? It was quite dark by this 
time, for she heard a clock striking eleven, and so it 
would be no use to open a shutter to enable her to see 
how to dispose of the letter ; nor did she like to lay 
it on the chair by her bedside with her stockings, lest 
Anne should come in to wake her and should observe 
it Yet she had a wonderful horror of hearing it 
crackling in her ears. If she was wide awake the 
sound was slight enough, but if she began dozing it 
grew louder, and absolutely began to cry out, "Z", u — j; 
Ktfw in the comer ! Q, u — ^who are you ? Q, u — ^who 
are you ? " till she started up again half awake, and in 
a fit of desperation snatched out the letter and tore 
the sheets across and across, she knew not how, and 
brushed them &om her to the floor. She was really 
so sleepy and so desperate, that she hardly knew 
what she was about — certainly did not think — till she 
woke out of a dreamless sleep, this time at the sound 
of the opening of the shutters, and Susan saying; 



94 PAPER SCRAPS. tCHAP. 

** Why, Miss Paulina, however did you make the bed 
in such a litter? I am sure it was tidy enough 
when I saw you last." 

" Oh, never mind, Susan ! Ill pick it up ! " said 
Paulina, bustling out of bed in a great hurry. " It 
is only some paper that I had in my pocket" 

Susan might think it very odd, but she was too 
busy to attend to the matter now ; and having opened 
the shutters and poured out the water, away she 
went, while Paulina collected the bits in some dis- 
tress and anxiety of mind, half sorry for a moment 
that she had put it out of her power to restore the 
love-letter to poor Persis, but consoled by thinking 
that lovers always wrote to each other every day, 
so that one letter more or less really could not 
matter, and that Persis never ought to have had it. 

But what was to be done with it? Fires there 
were none at this time of year, and to light a flame 
on the hearth to burn it would have brought Susan, 
Aline, perhaps Elspeth, down upon her. If she left 
it, Susan might be curious, piece it together, and 
make the discovery ; and if she put it into the scrap 
basket, Persis herself might look in and see the 
writing. Besides, as Paulina held the fragments in 



IX.] Q IN THE CORNER, 95 

her hands, she could not help feeling a sort of odd 
sentimental respect for the first love-letter she had 
ever seen, which would have kept her from destroy- 
ing it, even if she could have done so. There was 
very little time to deliberate. Anne would be 
coming in a minute to see whether she were tidy, 
and all she could devise at the moment was to stuft 
the scraps of the letter into her pocket, and as soon 
as ever she was dressed she scrambled through her 
prayers and flew to the old rocking-horse on the 
landing. "Where the saddle had once been, there was 
a hole in his side, Olive and Clare were wont to 
call it "feeding Gee-gee" to drop in old mumbled 
crusts ; and sometimes in fun, sometimes in mischief, 
sometimes in sheer naughtiness, a good many odd 
things had been entombed for ever in the body of 
the old charger. There, then, roUing up her papers 
into little quiUets, did Paulina consign poor Persis* 
precious letter from " K U." to the keeping of the 
ancient dapple-grey steed — starting a good many 
times if she heard a step, and once obliged to desist 
altogether, as Elspeth came suddenly out of her 
room : — 

•'Paula, what are you doing, dawdling on the 



96 POPPED IN. [CHAP. IX. 

horse? You are not so silly as to be putting things 
in?" 

'' Only some bits of paper,** said Paulina, unable 
' to help colouring furiously. 

''You had better not get into such a foolish 
habit, or we shaU lose something of importance 
some day.** 

Paulina got her last little roll in when no one was 
looking, and thought herself very lucky ! 






CHAPTEE X. 



POOR PERSIS. 



Paulina was angry at being told not to dawdle, 
or else she might have pitied Persis when the letters 
came in; for after an eager look, her face grew 
blank. 

But Paulina was on the watch herself for Eebckah's 
card, and when it did not come she felt cross and 
uneasy on her own account, and these feelings ren- 
dered her idle and troublesome at lessons. At least, 
so said Elspeth and Miss Lillywhite. She said 
herself, and thought, that the "putting upon" was 
getting worse than ever, and that while they were 
so particular, and expected so much from her, it was 
of no use to try; and she rounded her back, and 
made things as much worse as she could. 

And when she was ordered to stay indoors till 

H 



98 POTTERING ABOUT. [chap. 

-* 

she had re-written her French exercise, she remem- 
bered how her father had interfered on Sunday, and 
sat in the same sullen position for full an hour, in 
hopes of his coming in and seeing her, — a futile 
hope, as she knew all the time, for he seldom came 
in so early, and, if he did, was not Elspeth gardening 
outside to intercept him ? Gardening ! — a thing that 
had never been thought of here before, which Paulina 
hated and despised, but over which Elspgth was 
ridiculously eager, actually liking to potter over plants 
and seeds, to water annuals, peg down verbenas, and 
cut off withered roses, better than to walk in the 
Avenue, where at least you saw somebody, and could 
have a chance of a little talk ! 

And there were' Olive and Clare, stupid little 
things, trotting round and about her \^th baskets 
and little wheelbarrows, as if it were the most 
delightful thing in the world. 

Persis and Aline were neither of them in sight, 
and Paulina grew so restless and curious as to what 
had become of them, that at last, as the only way 
of getting out, she did finish her exercise, and 
brought it out to Elspeth on the lawn. 

Elspeth read it over, and said it was better, and 



x;] POOR PERSIS, ' ,'99 

that Paulina might stay out now and do as she 
pleased. She asked where the others were. " They 
are gone into the town," said Elspeth ; " Persis had 
something to do there, and she took Alie to walk 
with her." 

Paulina could guess what that something was, 
but she said nothing, only fetched a story-book, 
and lay down on the grass under a tree. 

" Pai^a,'* said Elspeth, " I don't think the grass 
is dry enough for that." 

" Oh yes, it is — quite," growled Paulina. 

" And I should have thought it better for you to 
be walking or running about after sitting stiU aU 
the morning. Suppose you went and got me some 
bass from the tool-house ? " 

" Fine putting upon ! Tou won't catch me doing 
your errands," thought Paulina, as she read on with- 
out seeming to hear. 

Elspeth stood and looked at the girl a moment, 
repressing with difficulty something that was rising 
to her lips ; then went to the house, brought back a 
carriage-rug, and said in a voice of forced gentleness, 
*' I desire you will lie on this." 

Never was poor girl so bothered and put upon. She 

H 2 



lOO QUERY. [CHAP. 

pitied herself so much for it that she could hardly 
go on with her story, though she drove away the 
black cat that came up and tried to nestle in her lap, 
because its tail came between her and the page. 

By and by fresh voices came into the garden, 
and Fersis went up to Elspeth, while Paulina rose, 
and, meeting Alines dragged her aside, whUe asking 
in her peremptory way, " "What in the world have 
you been doing in the town?" 

'' I only went with Persie," said Aline in a tone 
of frightened entreaty. 

"And what did Persis go for?" 

"She went to the post-office firsts" said Aline, 

"I thought sol" muttered Paulina. "And you 
haven't got my — any letter for me?" she added 
eagerly. 

*'N"o," said Aline; "there were no letters at all 
for the house, only some for the bank, and Persis 
was very muqh disappointed." 

" Indeed I how do you know ? " 

" Oh, she almost cried then, poor dear Persie. 
She said she made sure of getting a letter." 

"From whom?" asked Paulina, breathlessly. 

" She didn't say," answered Aline. " I said ' Who 






1 

1 






■ 1 



i 



x.l POOH PERSIS. lOI 

I ^■----11 I I iriBIB_M__LJWI __^ 

from?* and she didn't seem to hear; then I said 
'Who from?' again, and she just gave my hand a 
squeeze and said, * Never mind, my little Ali Baba ; 
you know nothing about it/" 

*' Of course not," said Paulina. 
• " Why, Paula, do you ? " And as Paulina nodded 
her head knowingly, *' Oh, tell me ! Do ! there's a 
^'ood sister!" 

''No, no; a baby like you can't understand; I 
shan't tell you." 

"Did Persis tell you for a secret?" asked Aline, 
a little awed. 

" Nonsense ! I'm not going to tell you anything 
about it." 

" Then it is very cross of you, and I shan't tell 
you a bit more," whined Aline. 

" I've heard it aU," said Paulina, contemptuously. 

" No, you haven't," said Aline, feeling her power 
for a moment. 

"Yes, I have," said Paulina, turning away with 
the instinct that to make light of the intelligence 
was the way to draw it from her younger sister. 

" You've not ! you haven't heard how Persie cried 
at church." 



/ 



I02 ST. PAUL'S. [chap. 

** At church ! " 

"Yes, at St Paul's. She asked me if I should 
mind, and I didn't ; and we went in, and oh, Paula ! 
it was such pretty singing, only Persis cried all the 
time we were kneeling down." 

"Well, Aline," said Paulina severely, "I can't 
think how you could do such a thing." 

"But indeed I couldn't help seeing, Paula; and 
I was so sorry!" 

"Nonsense! that wasn't what I meant; it was 
going to St. Paul's.*' 

" Going to St. Paul's 1 " said the astonished Aline ; 
"why, it was going to church." 

" What a little silly you are, Aline, not to know 
that Papa hates St. Paul's." 

Aline's brown eyes opened with wonder, for she 
was a much more simple child than Paulina, and 
had no notion of dififerences of opinion about 
churches. 

"But it is a church, Paula," she repeated; "and 
Persis took me thera" 

" That's all you know," said Paulina. 

"Paula, what can you mean? Papa won't be 
angry with me?" 



X.] POOR PERSIS. . 103 

"Oh no, I don't supppose he will, with a baby 
like you." . 

"But with Persis?" entreated Aline, who was 
learning to love Persis better than all the world 
besides." 

" Oh, as to that, I don't know," returned Paulina, 
a little spitefully ; " most likely he will never 
know." 

"Persie would tell him if she thought he would 
not like it," reiterated Aline ; and as Paulina laughed 
as if knowing better, she added: "She says, and 
so does Elspeth, if you doubt about a thing, always 
teU of it." 

"I daresay," said Paulina, "that's what she tells 
you ; but wait a little while, and you will see Mrs. 
Persis knows how to have contrivances of her 



own." 



" For shame, Paula ! I won't have you say such 
things of Persis ! I'm sure she's good, whoever 
else isn't," — and Aline began to cry. 

"Paula!" came Elspeth's voice across the lawn, 
"You aren't teasing your sister? Aline, what's 
the matter?" 

" She said — ^she said," sobbed Aline, all the louder 



I04 QUITE OPEN, [CHAP. 

for Paulina's fierce pinch on the arm to stop her 
moiith — " that Persis wasn't good ! and that she had 
con — cen — contrivances of her own, and that Papa 
would be angry because we had been to St. Paul's." 

"Paulina," said Elspeth, "you do not seem to be 
in a kind or charitable mood to-day; I wondfer what 
is the matter with you?" 

" Never mind now, Elsie," said Persis, coming up ; 
"I mean to tell Papa where I have been; Paula 
need not think I should do anything without." 

Persis looked so open and candid that Paulina 
felt ashamed, and quite forgot for the time that 
she had suspected her sister of anything besides 
this expedition to St. Paul's. 

And when Mr. Quintall came home and said, 
in a pleasant, good-humoured voice, " Well, girls, and 
what have you been doing to-day ? " Persis answered : 
"Elsie has been gardening, and I walked into 
Peterakirk with Aline. I went to the post-office, 
and then to St. Paul's. Papa, do you think letters 
for the house ever go by mistake to the bank ? " 

"Certainly not, Persis; I desire the postmaster 
to be careful to keep the bags separate. Do you 
think anything is wrong?" 



X. ] POOR PERSIS. 105 

" There is a London letter that I am rather uneasy 
about, but I dare say it will all come right," said 
Persis. . 

Artful being ! So she had used her anxiety about 
her lost letter to divert her father's mind from her 
disobedient church-going, while she seemed to con- 
fess it. How people were deceived in her, and 
how innocent she looked all the time t 



CHAPTEE XI. 

QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLK 

" Horace ! come and speak to me — out here, where 
nobody can hear," called Paulina in a hasty whisper, 
as Horace came into the house on the Saturday. 

" Eh ! Nothing the matter with the Femii, I 
hope," as he followed her upstairs. 

" Oh, two of them have died, but that can't be 
helped, — and that's not it," said Paulina, climbing 
out on the roof. 

" Died — the brutes ! What made them go and do 
that ? Holloa ! and here are some more that look 
uncommonly like it. What have you been doing 
to them ? " ' 

" Nothing — unless Persis hurt them when she was 
changing them." 

" Persis indeed I She holds them a pretty sight 



OH. XI.] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE, 107 



more tenderly than you do ! More likely you did, 
with your great clumsy fingers/' 

*'Persis! It is always Persist" said Paulina 
petulantly, 

" To be sure ! It was as dull as ditch-water before 
she came and made it jolly. What ! jealous, Polly ? 
Polly peevish ! " 

" For shame, Horace ! " sobbed Paulina ; " I'm sure 
it's very unkind of you to like a stranger better 
than your own sister." 

"Persis is my sister." 

*' No, she isn't — not like me." 

" No, not like you, for she isn't a plague." 

" Horace 1" stamping her foot and crying passion- 
ately and pitifully; "that's a shame, a cruel, 

* 

horrid shame, after all I've done for you." 

"Much you've done — ^with Persie and Alie help- 
ing you too!" 

"I declare," cried Paulina in her vexation, "I 
hate the very name of Persis 1 You alwaj^s used to 
like me best before she came." 

" Yes, I didn't know what was jolly," said Horace, 
enjoying, like a teasing boy, her anger and vexa- 
tion. 

" Horace 1 I say," she sobbed, " when you know 



lOS PADDOCKSFIELD. [chap. 

all, you'll know who is your friend and who is good 
to yon." 

" Not yon I Why, you've made all the glasses ring, 
and the woolly bear curl himself up! You're 
enough to spoil their spinning. Get away, do — 
you've upset the hawkmoth's flower-pot." 

•'But, Horace," said Paulina, recovering her- 
self, "have you had a card from Uncle Proud- 
foot?" 

"No!" 

" Then that horrid old Becky has failed me ! " 

*' How ?— what do you mean ? " 

*' Why, I wrote to ask her to send one of Uncle 
Proudfoot's cards for the 20th." 

"But I don't want to go to Paddocksfield ; Tve 
got all the butterflies there." 

" No, but I didn't mean you to go there. Uncle 
Proudfoot wasn't to know." 

Horace gave a long whistle. 

'* You know," said Paulina eagerly, " Elspeth is so 
nasty about the Eegatta, that I thought it was the 
only chance for you. If you showed Papa the card, 
he would never ask any questions, but let you have 
the day, and you could join Percy Grafton and his 
party." 



XI.] QUARRELS ON", THE QUADRANGLE. lOQ 

"A pretty sneaking business, I declare/' cried 
Horace. ''Just like a girl« to think I'd do such a 
dirty thing as that I " 

"Horace, you're very cross! — as if I had wanted 
you to say one word that wasn't true." 

" There's not much odds between doing what isn't 
true and saying what isn't true. One is as dirty as 
the other, or rather dirtier. Besides, I would as 
soon go to Jericho as to Prince's Quay." 

" Oh, Horace ! But there is to be a race between 
the Quagga and the Petrel^ 

''I don't care." 

"And Percy Grafton is going." 

"An overbearing perfumer^s prig — I'd rather go 
a dozen miles than anywhere with him ! Besides, 
there's something jolly getting up about going to 
Quack Common." 

" A picnic with the Airlie babies," said Paulina 
scornfully. 

" Ay, but there are silver-washed fritiUaries, and 
meadow ringlets ; and I know Elsie has got a jolly 
pigeon-pie for it." 

"And so," cried Paulina, "after all the trouble 
I have taken for you, you like going off like a baby, 
with a lot of girls and little ones, to drink tea and 



no PROVOCATIOI/. [CHAP. 

run after butterflies, when you might be going like a 
man to a boat-race with the other boys I I wonder 
you haven't more spirit — I do ! " 

*' How can you talk such rubbish ? " said Horace, 
but in a tone as if she had stung him. ** I do what 
I like ! " 

"What Elspeth likes, you mean," said Paulina. 
*' All the boys will see you, and laugh, and know 
how we are all put upon. I won't bear it ; and you 
wouldn't if you had the spirit of a mouse." 

" But I don't know what you are at, with your 
talk of being put upon," said Horace. "I'm sure 
the house is much nicer than ever it was before." 

" There — there ! that's just what I say ! Nobody 
cares for poor dear Mamma but me !" And Paulina 
began to cry again, while Horace grew angry in his 
turn, and demanded: "Paula, what on earth do 
you mean ? / not care ! " 

"You said the house was nicer without her." 

" Now, can anyone guess what women will be 
at?" exclaimed Horace. "As if all a poor fellow 
said had not been that it was nicer now than 
when poor Mamma was always shut up in her 
room, and there was no one to do or say a thing 
for a fellow.** 



XI.] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE. 1 1 1 

• — - I - - 

"Ay, you're all very mucli delighted now," said 
Paulina. "You think it aU very fine ; but when you 
come home from the holidays, see if they don't put 
upon you." 

"1 don't care if they do, if this is the way of 
it. I teU you what, Polly, I believe it is just 
this : you have had your own way, and now they 
are come, and are twice as good as you, you don't 
like it; and that's the long and short of the 
putting upon." 

"Twice as good! We shall see," muttered 
Paulina. "I know what I know." 

" Good !" — Horace opened his eyes — ^"good ! to be 
sure they are good — only too good for you." 

"So you think," she said, triumphantly. 

"Think! I know: I see." 

" See, indeed ! As if they hadn't their secrets, 
like other people." 

"Well, and they have a right to their secrets! 
I tell you what, Paula, if you say another such 
word, I'll serve you just as I would a fellow at 
Quick's. So hold your tongue, and be off with 
you. Elspeth and Persis not good, indeed ! As if I 
did not know better than that !" 

He was so really angry, and ready to proceed 



Ill QUACK COMMON^. [chap. 

to violent measures, that Paulina realty durst not 
tell him of her discovery and the means of it. 
Perhaps the perceiving how he would look at it 
was the first thing that made her see she had 
done something that might be thought very 
shocking; but the immediate effect was to make 
her extremely angry, injured, and vexed, that when 
she had ventured so much for him, he should have 
gone over to the side of the enemy. 

Poor injured, put-upon Horace, playing at croquet 
with Papa in high glee, and talking everybody to 
death about silver-washed firitillaries, while Persis 
made his cages of paper and gauze for his cater- 
pillars — ^was not he a wretched victim to step- 
sisters ! Paulina was doomed to hear of nothing 
but the Quack Common picnic all the rest of the 
day, and to find everyone surprised that she was 
so sUent and sullen about what would naturally 
have been such a treat. 

She was chiefly sustained by the certainty that 
there was something amiss with Persis, who 
struggled to be bright with her father and the 
children, but drooped whenever she thought she 
was not watched, and was pale and red-eyed when 
she came down to breakfast on Sunday morning. 



XL] QUARRELS ON THE QUADRANGLE, I 13 

Her father looked sharply at her, but said nothing, 
though they all knew by his ways that he was 
vexed. Again, at church, Persis pulled down her 
veil, and once or twice seemed to be fighting to 
keep back tears, and each time Mr. Quintall per- 
ceived it he made a little impatient movement as if 
he were vexed. It seems — nay, it is shocking — ^but 
Paulina really felt an odd sort of spiteful pleasure in 
seeing that it was true that Persis had some secret 
grief, and that it was no mere fancy of her own ; 
and, likewise, she had a sort of sense of retaliation 
in having on her side caused a considerable vexa- 
tion to one of the Sisters who were always " putting 
upon her." And Paulina had come to believe that 
everything she was requested to do — yes, even to 
the putting on her gloves, or tidying up the school- 
room — was "putting upon:" moreover, that her 
sisters never let her alone, and scolded her day 
and night. There are moods in which people think 
the whole world set against them, and Paulina was 
in one of these. 



CHAPTER XII. 



POST-OFFICE REVELATIONS. 



Putting upon had really come to such a pass that 
Elspeth went with the children again to the dancing 
on Monday, and actually made the engagement for 
Paulina to dance with Millicent Airhe, so that she 
could only look at Percy Grafton, inhale his mille- 
fleurs essence from a distance, and admire his pale 
lavender gloves sewn with green. Paulina had no 
satisfaction but dancing as badly as possible, with 
stiff arms, and feet with no bend in them; and 
when she very decidedly got the worst of that, she 
believed and she muttered that Millicent Airlie put 
her out 1 

She did shake hands with Percy Grafton during 
the break-up, and that was only disappointment, for 
he did not ask about Horace's going on the 20bh, 



CHAP. XII. ] POST' OFFICE RE VELA TIONS. 1 1 5 

and, when she told him, did not even seem to care 
about his defection half so much as about a slit in 
his own new gloves. 

Millicent's high spirits and schemes about the 
picnic were insupportable too, and she was all the 
less at rest that Persis had come into town with the 
dancing party, and gone off her own way. 

It was, however, the next afternoon that Mr. 
Quintall came out upon the lawn where the four 
elder sisters were at croquet together, and said — 
'* Persis, what's this about a letter that youVe been 
inquiring about?" 

" I have lost a letter, Papa," said Persis, colouring 
a little. 

"Whenr 

" I expected to have had it on Thursday afternoon 
or Friday morning." 

" This is very strange," said Mr. QuintalL ** I 
went into the post-office just now, and the clerk 
desired me to tell you that he had been inquiring 
after your letter, and found that there had come one 
on Thursday afternoon which he gave to Bakewell, 
and Bakewell says he gave it to one of the children 
who was at the office asking for letters." 

I 2 



1 1 6 THE POST, [CHAP. 

"Paulina!" exclaimed Elspeth, "don't go — stand 
stilL Thursday was the day you went to Peterskirk 
with me." 

" You did not send her to the post-office alone ! " 

" Certainly not ; but I gave her leave to go and 
get something, as I thought, at a shop three doors 
off, and she was gone much too long a time/' said 
Elspeth, looking a good deal startled. " Did you go 
to the post-ofHce, Paula ? " 

" I won't answer you," cried Paulina, startled into 
a state of passionate distress and despair. "Tou 
have no business to question me, and — and — ^tum 
Papa against me " 

" Hush, Paulina ! " said her father sternly; **that 
is not the way to speak to your sister. Did you go 
to the post-oifice ? " 

It had flashed through Paulina's mind that 
denial was useless, since the post-office clerks and 
Mr. Bakewell could both bring it home to her. 
Not having the contrary temptation, she sulkily 
answered — 

" There was no harm in it" 

" Did you go ? " repeated her fether. 

•' Yes." 



XII.] 



POST-OFFICE REVELATIONS. 



117 



" Did you have a letter for Persis given to you ? " 

" It had ' Miss P. Quintall * on it, and of course 
I thought it was for me," said Paulina in a much 
injured tona 

" Oh, Paula ! " cried Persis, starting forward, " how 
could you forget to give it to me ! Where is it ? 
Do let me have it" 

Paulina stood stock still, very angry with every- 
body. 

"Why don't you answer your sister?" said Mr. 
QuintalL *' Why did you not give it to her at once ? 
Speak ! Don*t you know how disgraceful a thing it is 
to tamper with other people's letters ? " 

He was so angry now that Paulina could think of 
nothing but turning his displeasure into a different 
channel 

" It wasn't a proper letter for Persis to have," she 
muttered. 

" Paulina, do you know what you are saying ? " 
thundered her father. 

" Paulina, are you gone out of your senses ? " 
asked Elspetli. 

Persis looked on in blank amazement, too much 
thunderstruck for a word. 



1 1 8 PA ULJNA 'S PROPRIETY. [chap. 

"What do you mean?" repeated Mr. QuintalL 
" Not a proper letter I What do you mean by that ? " 

" A love-letter," came out from between Paulina's 
lips, as she hung her head, frightened at the wrath 
she had provoked. 

She was surprised that Elspeth and Persis both 
burst out laughing. 

" Papa," cried Elspeth, " the child does not know 
what she is talking about I " 

" T never had a love-letter in my life ; there's no 
one to write one to me," asseverated Persis, looking 
up in his face with her innocent eyes. "Paulina 
must have made some ridiculous mistake." 

" Upon my word, that's more likely, child," said 
Mr. Quintall ; " that is, if it be the letter you ex- 
pected." 

"Please look at it — whatever it is. Eead every 
word of it," entreated Persis. 

"Fetch it, Paulina," said her father. 

"I can't," she growled. 

"Can't! Have you torn it up?" 

" Yes." 

" But the pieces, Paulina, where are they ? " en- 
treated Persis ; " thrown away — ^where ? " 



XII.] POST-OFFICE REVELA TIONS. 1 1 9 

" I remember," exclaimed Elspeth, " I saw Paulina 
poking something into the hole in the rocking- 
horse. It was on Friday morning. Depend upon it 
that is what she did with it." 

" The hole in the rocking-horse ! " said the asto- 
nished Mr. QuintalL 

" Yes," said Elspeth ; " they always put things 
there they wish to lose." 

"I'll have it looked into. I don't know what 
to believe. I thought I had got to the end of 
all double dealing. I can't understand a bit of 
it," said Mr. Quintall, sadly; and Elspeth at least 
understood something of the tone of pain, for she 
had suspected more than once that he had been 
grieved by a little want of straightforwardness in 
his secoud wife. " Here is Paulina running off 
underhand to the post, and opening other people's 
letters ! " 

"That might be an accident," said kind Persis. 

"Her going off to the post-office unknown to 
Elspeth was not," said Mr. Quintall. "Paulina, 
I insist on knowing what you were about. Tou 
have accused other people, but that does not clear 
you. If it be as I believe, you have invented a 



1 20 QC/f EST Q. [CHAVL 

slander against your sister, of which yon do not 
know the cruelty/' 

•Tm sure/' broke out Pauliua, "it is a love- 
letter! Get it out of the rocking-horse and 
read it I * 

" That shall certainly be done/' said Mr. Quintall. 
" Elspeth, is it possible that this may be some im- 
pertinent stranger's letter? From whom was it, 
Paulina?" 

"Kenneth Urquhart/' said Paulina glibly. 

"Kenneth Urquhart!" repeated Persis; "that's 
the very letter ! " 

"But what is the child talking about?" said 
Elspeth. " He has a wife and five children," 

"He is not the only Kenneth Urquhart/' said 
Paulina, half exulting, half defending herself. 

" No, there's his little boy of seven years old ! " 
said Elspeth. "Papa, I think little Kenny might 
have written Persie a play-letter that Paula took 
for earnest/' 

"Oh yes," said Persis eagerly, glad to acquit 
Paulina of such exceeding unkindness ; ** I can quite 
fancy that. Please don't be angry with her." 

"Stay, Persis, I have not got to the bottom of 



XII.] POST' OFFICE RE VELA TIONS, 1 2 I 

it yet. If Paulina did make so absurd a mistake 
in good faith, she ought either to have brought 
the letter to me or to you, instead of suppress- 
ing it." 

"I suppose she thought that would be kind to 
me," said Persis. 

Paulina really began to think that the storm 
was after all diverted from herself to curiosity 
about the letter, and perhaps her sisters would 
have let it be so, but Mr. Quintall came back to 
the charge. 

"How came she to meddle with the letter at 
all ? What made you go inquiring for one, 
Paulina?" 

"I thought I should get one." 

"From whom?" Mr. Quintall had to repeat 
the question several times before he elicited — 

" From Uncle Proudfoot's Becky." And then she 
took refuge in a great burst of tears. Mr. Quintall 
began to walk backwards and forwards and say 
there was some mystery in all this, and he could 
not make out girls ; daughters were enough to drive 
one mad. 

Elspeth, who had more conmiand of herself than 



122 QUESTIONING, [chap. 

anyone else just then, went up to him, and touching 
his arm, said gently, "Dear Papa, don't you think 
that Paulina might speak out better if she were 
alone with you?" 

"You take her, Elspeth; I don't know what to 
make of her." 

"I think," said Elspeth, in a low, persuasive 
voice, " it may be better for you to speak to her ; 
I am beginning to think she has made some great 
mistake about us, that she cannot speak out freely 
before us." 

Paulina, who could not hear this, fancied of 
course that Elspeth was inciting her father to 
punish her, and was very much startled when he, 
speaking roughly, out of his vexation and dislike 
to the business, called her into his study. 

"Paulina, what is the meaning of all this?" he 
gravely asked, when he had seated himself, and 
she stood before him, sobbing. 

" The letter was directed to me," she said, laying 
hold of the most defensible point. 

"That is nothing to the purpose. What I desire 
to understand is, what are the extraordinary machi- 
nations that I find going on in my family?" 



ra.1 POST-OFFICE REVELA TIONS, 1 2 3 

She made no answer, and he changed the form 
of the question — 

"You say you expected a letter from Becky 
Saunders. Had you written to her?" 

Paulina did not quite say Yes, but it came to 
the same thing. 

"What could you write to her about? I desire 
to know. Speak ! I shall go over to find out from 
her." 

So conjured, Paulina did speak: "I wanted a 
card for Horace." 

"What do you mean by a card?" 

"One of Uncle Proudfoot's cards." 

" Why couldn't you ask for one openly ? Am 
I to understand that you and Horace are in the 
habit of intriguing with your uncle's servants to 
obtain invitations?" 

"Oh no, no — ^not Horace I He had nothing to do 
with it — nothing I " cried Paulina, wakened from her 
sulky trance to defend him. 

"How do I know? I can't trust your word for 
anything I I shall go over to Paddocksfield and find 
out what has been going on." 

"Oh, please. Papa, don't let Horace get into the 



124 ^^^ UPON. [CHAP. 

scrape, and I'll tell you all about it; and you'll 
see he knew nothing about it, and didn't want it 
either," said Paulina, quite changed now she had 
her innocent brother instead of her guilty self to 
defend. "It was all my sister's fault," she began, 
however, to his amazement. "Elspeth would not 
let Horace go to the Eegatta on Thursday, and he 
has always been, and it was too bad of her! Dear 
Mamma always let him go." 

"But," said Mr. Quintall, interrupting the tones 
of wrath in which she spoke, "I thought Elspeth 
had arranged some safer and more becoming party 
of pleasure as compensation." 

"A stupid thing! I thought Horace would not 
like it," said Paulina. 

" Or Horace did not like it ? " 

" Yes, but he did ; he did really I' protested Paulina, 
getting more and more dismayed as she saw her 
own shuffling made her father disbelieve what she 
said of her brother. " It was 1 1 — I could not bear 
for him to be put upon." 

" Put upon, by being kindly guarded from temp- 
tation ! " 

"He always had gone, and it never hurt him 



I 
\ 



XII.] POST- OFFICE RE VELA TIONS. 12 5 

and the boys would hare laughed at him," said 
Paulina. 

"Passing that by, I do not see now how your 
Uncle Proudfoot's invitation to Paddocksfield was 
to take him to this Eegatta" 

Paulina did begin now to feel very much ashamed 
as she said, " Uncle Proudfoot wasn't to know." 

"You mean, then, that his servant was to take 
one of his cards without his knowledge, and send 
it here, that Horace might, on a false pretext, join 
this expedition." 

Paulina could only mutter, " Because Elspeth wa* 
so cross." 

"Poor child !" and her father's deep sigh startled 
her: "she does not seem to understand the 
shame and disgrace of such conduct. Then it 
was in the expectation of this card that you 
stole away from your sister and opened Persis' 
letter ?" 

"I would have given it back if I had not torn 
it," said Paulina ; " and when I began to read it, I 
thought it was to me." 

"How was that possible?" 

" It began with ' My dear Child,* and I thought, 



1 26 QUELLED, [chap. xii. 

perhaps, Uncle Proudfoot had found out. But, Papa, 
indeed it was a love-letter.** 

"Nonsense, child; you don't know what a love- 
letter is. Well, I can't say how much truth there is 
in what you say," he sighed ; "it is bad enough, any 
way. Go up to your room now ; I can't have you 
about this evening." 

" Only, Papa," said Paulina, lingering, " it wasn't 
Horace's doing." 

"Did he know of it?" 

And then Paulina told her first direct falsehood 
in the matter, for she said "No;" and as she saw 
her father look really pleased, she went up to her 
room, thinking that at any rate Horace had not 
known of her manoeuvres before, only after; but 
she was too miserdble to sleep properly, and tossed 
about amid unhappy dreams and wakiug fears 
throughout the night and the weary long light 
morning. 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

QUARTERING THE ROCKING-EORSE. 

Mr. Quintall conld not rest till he had come to 
some understanding of the affair. Instead of going 
to the bank the first thing after breakfast, he sent 
for a carpenter, and desired him to open the rocking- 
horse. 

All the family stood round with as much curiosity 
as wonder, except poor little Clar^, who ran away to 
Susan in an agony of crying, as if it had been a live 
horse that was to be cut in two ; and not half be- 
lieving the assurances that dear old Gee-gee would 
be as well as ever in the evening. 

The first thing that came to light when the upper 
part of the poor dappled grey was severed from the 
lower was a mouse's nest, explaining the wonderful 
mousey smell that had for some little time been 



128 PIECING TOGETHER, [chap. 

lemarked in the passage. Olive s plan of feeding 
Gee-gee upon crusts must have been appreciated by 
the mouse family. Amongst dust and crumbs and 
*' sloven's fur" almost enough to make a tippet, came 
forth five slate-pencils, two lead-pencils, one knife, 
one piece of india-rubber, one female member of 
Noah's family and one of his beetles, besides a 
number of scraps of paper, upon which Elspeth and 
Persis immediately threw themselves, picking out 
those which bore Mr. Urquhart's handwriting, and 
piecing them together. It turned out that Paulina's 
hurried midnight tearing had not been into very 
minute pieces ; it had done little more than quarter 
them, so that it was not difficult to put them together 
again. 

Mr. Quintall had not said a word to Persis about 
the letter; he had even said he only caused the 
search to be made to satisfy himself about Paulina's 
truth, and for the same reason he had ordered his 
horse, to ride to Paddocksfield and examine Becky. 
He did not attempt to look at the fragments, or ask 
any questions about them; but Persis, so soon as 
she had arranged them legibly, came up to him, and 
said, with hotly glowing cheeks — 



xm.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE. 129 

"Father, please read this." 

"Do you really wish it, Persis?" he said, and 
Paulina felt half jealous of the manner, " You undeiv 
stand that at your age your correspondence is per- 
fectly free, and that I should never think again of 
that child's accusation — only not scandalous because 
it is so foolish and impossible." 

"Please read it, Papa," repeated Persis; and 
Paulina, for all her troubles, raised her head with 
eagerness and suspense ; so amazed was she that the 
letter could be even supposed to be anything but 
what she had thought it. 

"From Mr. Urquhart?" asked her father. 

"Yes, Papa," said Persis, "and perhaps I had 
better tell you first ; for I am not sure now whether 
I ought not to have done so before ; you know Mr. 
Urquhart prepared us for Confirmation, and he told 
us, whenever we could, to go to the Holy Com- 
munion early. So when you forbade us" — (Mr. 
QuintaU was looking displeased now, and the tears 
stood in Persis' eyes, and her voice quivered) — ^"we 
were very much puzzled what was right to do ; for 
indeed we — at least I— don't know how to be any 
way good without strength and help, always. So I 

K 



I30 PERSIST CONFESSION. [chap. 

^rote— perhaps I ouglit to have told you first — ^to 
as^ Mr. TJrquhart what was the right thing to do, 
and this is his answer." 

So this was what Paulina had taken for love- 
making! The colour rushed into her £eu3e at her 
own exceeding foolishness, and she would have been 
ready to run out of the room with shame and dismay 
if she had not perceived that her father was not 
much pleased. 

''Hml I think young ladies might put their fathers 
before strangers." 

" But he could not be a stranger to us. Papa," said 
Persis ; *' he taught us long ago." 

*' Well, ha ! that's some excuse; let us see '* 

Paulina wished he would have read aloud, so that 
she might have had her difficulties cleared up; but 
instead of this, he only said, "Must I read it? A 
horrid bad hand he writes, this adviser of yours. — 
Good and sensible, that ! — ^Why, Persie, girl, did it go 
so very deep with you ? Tou might have told me, 
child, though, after alL — Hm I ha ! he seems a good, 
right-minded man, not at all disposed to stir up strife 
between father and child. — ^Patience, influence — ** 
(Influence ; that must have been Paulina's "fleece"— 



XIII.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE, 1 3 1 

her "Golden Fleece") — ^"There, my dear, I am glad you 
showed it to me ; it puts your friend in a fresh light 
to me, and I suppose you must do as you please * 

**0h, Papa!" and the colour came into Persie's 
face, and she clasped her hands — "thank you !" And 
Elspeth fervently echoed, " Thank you, father ! " 

" WeU, say no more about it now ; any how, I see 
you gave up something to come home and help me, 
my girls, and I don't want to make it harder to you ; 
only have it all out with me next time, if I cross 
you again." 

'* I will. Papa ; I will not be afraid again." And 
Persis ventured to bend down and kiss him. 
Paulina had never thought of such a thing as that, 
and was amazed to see him put up his arm and hold 
her down, and return the kiss, saying, as he did so, 
" You are very like your mother, Persie." 

Then Paulina felt a fierce pang of jealousy. 

" Stay a moment," said her father, as Persis was 
going; "when does Horace come home?" 

•*To breakfast, to-morrow." 

" I shall leave speaking to him till then. I am 
going over to Paddocksfield now." 

A kind of despair seized Paulina at the thought 

K 2 



132 PUNISHMENT, [chap. 



%* 



of what Uncle Proudfoot would say to the use she 
had intended to make of his servant and his cards. 

Elspeth spoke, however: "Don't you think you 
could speak to this old housekeeper apart; I don't 
imagine Mr; Proudfoot knows anything about it." 

" Most likely not. I should be ashamed that he 
should. Shall I drive you there, Elsie ? " 

" No, thank you, Papa ; I think you will get on 
better without me," said Elspeth, feeling that other- 
wise Paulina might never think his judgment im- 
partiaL 

" Very well ; only mind, you need not get ready 
for this picnic business. I can't have pleasurings 
whne an affair like this is going on." 

Aline gave a start of horror and dismay, and 
Elspeth said — 

*' Is not that rather hard on the innocent ? ** 

''How do I know who is innocent? I believe 
Horace is at the bottom of it all the while." 

" Indeed, Papa," said Elspeth, eagerly, " I do not 
think so. I don't think Horace cares about anv- 
thing but butterflies, and his head is full of the 
silver-washed fritillaries on Quack Common. He 
really prefers it." 



XIII.] QUARTERING THE ROCKING-HORSE, 1 33 

"So you think, Elsie — ^you are a good girl, and 
never were used to slippery ways; but nothing 
shall ever make me believe that the girl there got 
up such a plot without being egged on by her 
brother." 

" I did ! I did, Papa ! " cried Paulina, darting 
forward again, " Horace knew nothing about it. 
Oh, punish me as much as you please, but don't 
believe horrid things about Horace. He didn't want 
to go. He was angry with me for it." 

"There now, Paulina, last night you told me he 
knew nothing about it ! That's the way with you 
all — anything to shield your brother. I only hope 
I may get the truth out of him, any way." 

And Mr. Quintall went off, leaving Paulina crying 
now as she had never cried before. 

"Oh, Elsie, Elsie, what shall I do! Indeed, 
indeed, Horace had nothing to do with it." 

"No, Paula, I cannot believe he had," said 
Elspeth ; " but if you have not spoken the perfect 
truth, it will be very hard to convince Papa." 

* I did speak truth. He did not ask me to do 
it," sobbed Paula; "he did not want me to do 
it ; he knew nothing till it was all dene, and then 



1 34 ^^^^- [CHAP. 

I thought Becky might have been stupid and sent 
him the* card, so I told him, and he was very angry 
with me." 

"But you told Papa he did not know!" 

" Oh, Elsie, don't you see, in that sense ; and I 
didn't tell one other fib in the whole." 

"I do see, Paula, *in that sense,' as you call 
it; but it was a great pity you did not explain 
to Papa." 

"I was so frightened! and I only thought how 
to get Horace out of the scrape ! And now I have 
made it worse than ever!" 

Poor Paulina was crying so bitterly and sobbed 
so violently, that Persis looked at Elspeth quite 
frightened ; and Elspeth said— 

"Poor child! she is quite worn out. Lie down 
here, Paula," — making a place on the sofa. " I dare 
say you did not sleep all night." 

Paula sobbed out "No," while Persis laid her 
down, and presently Elspeth brought her some sal- 
volatile. She was dimly conscious that they were 
both a great deal kinder to her than she in the 
least expected or deserved; but she was tired out 
with her misery, and could not think about it, and 



xiil] quartering the rocking-horse. 135 

SO she fell asleep. When she awoke partially, it 
was to hear their voices. 

''I can't help hoping that after all this is the 
beginning of better things." 

** I can't help hoping everjrthing in the joy your 
letter has won us/' said Elspetlu 

"Did people really care about Church and Holy 
Communion as much as all that J " thought Paulina. 

" How very kind Papa was 1 " added Persis. *' And 
oh, what a helpful letter it was. I wonder what 
put the fancy into Aer head, poor child 1" 

And then both sisters indulged in a hearty, noise- 
less laugh. If Paulina had been as honourable as 
they were, she would have shown herself to be 
awake, but she had not learnt as yet all the lessons 
she ought to learn, — ^and she lay stilL 

"I am sure we are both very much indebted to 
her," said Elspeth. "I only trust good may come 
out of the present trouble." 

"If Papa can only acquit poor Horace!" said 
Persis. " I have great hopes that the dear boy's own 
open-faced manner will convince him." 

**I am sure it ought," said ElspetL "Dear 
Horace I I do think the most hopeful part about 



1 36 PAST PREJUDICE. [chap, xin . 

all this terrible affair is that «Ae is more distressed 
for his sake than her own." 

^ There was nothing selfish in it from first to 
last," said Persis, warmly. 

'' I am not so sure of that* There was some self- 
deceit It was the spirit of opposition to me." 

" How did Elspeth know so well," thought Paulina. 

** I am sure no one could have been kinder 1 " cried 
Persis. 

"No one coidd hare meant to be kinder, but I 
never knew how difficult it would be to do right 
and yet seem kind. Poor children! I have often 
been sorry for them, and have feared things seemed 
to be done for the sake of change and tyranny, when 
they really could not be helped." 

There Paulina dropped off to sleep again, but with 
a very different feeling in her mind as to being 
"put upon." 



CHAPTER XIV. 



POISONING A HOLIDAY. 



Mr. Quintall did not come home till quite late. 
Mr. Proudfoot had insisted on his staying to dinner, 
and Hspeth was obliged to send Paulina to bed 
before he came home, promising to come and tell 
her what he said about Becky. 

The girl was so tired out, however, that she was 
fast asleep when her sisters looked in at her, and » 
it was not till the morning that she knew the fate 
of her letter. 

Becky Saunders was no great reader, and she 
had kept the letter for her young niece to read to 
her after church on Sunday. And the niece had, 
after spelling it out with difficulty, brought her to 
the conclusion that "the young gentleman wanted 
to go out a pleasuring unknownst to his Pa," which 



1 58 PASSIVENESS THE BEST POLICY. [ohap. 



Becky rightly hdd to be very dangerous; besides, 
how was she ever to go for to do such a thing as 
to take one of her master's cards without his know- 
ledge ! So Becky had made up her mind to take 
no notice ; it was just a fancy of the young ladies 
and gentlemen that they would soon forget, if she 
let it blow over, and be glad she had done so. 
Sensible old servants often do put a stop to follies 
in that way, by taking no notice. 

Becky was much afraid of bringing the dear 
children into trouble, but when questioned she had 
told all that she knew. She had in her real good- 
nature destroyed the letter ; and as the kitchen fire 
had done so more effectually than the rocking-horse, 
she could not produce it; and this was unlucky, as 
it would have done something towards clearing 
Horace. 

Poor Horace ! it was a different holiday from what 
he expected when he came home with his sunny 
face and his butterfly net on that summer morning, 
expecting his picnic and butterflies innumerable. He 
was at once met and called by a stem voice into his 
father's study ; and what passed there no one knew, 
— ^while his sisters waited outside in great distress. 



ti- 



^ 



XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDA V. 1 39 



At last Horace came out, looking glum and fierce, 
and turning to Paulina, said — 

" rU thank you not to meddle in my affairs again ! 
A pretty mess youVe got me into, this time." 

"Horace, dear, you " 

"None of your dears — making my father not 
believe a word I say." 

And as his father^s step was heard following, he 
flung out of the room by the windows, unable to 
meet him. Paulina durst not go after him — she 
who had comforted him in all his scrapes before. 

"As I thought, Elspeth," said Mr. Quintall, 
coming in, " the boy was cognizant of this scheme. 
I was sure the girl would never have got it up unless 
it was instigated." 

" Papa ! Papa ! " Paulina almost screamed, in her 
dismay and despair. 

•* Silence, Paulina ! — it is of no use to listen to 
you." 

Elspeth rose up now. " Papa, I believe she tells 
the truth." 

"What!" interrupted Mr. Quintall, "when one 
minute she teUs me he did not know, and he teUs 
me himself that he did ! " 






140 PRESENT PREJUDICE. [chap. 

*'She has explained ^" b^an Elspeth. 

''Explained! — explained! — ^that's the way with 
women I Yon do the boy no good by letting him 
hoodwink you, Elspeth. You are not weak to your 
sisters, why should you be so to him?" 

'^ I am trying not to be weak, but to stand up for 
what I believe to be the right," said Elspeth. " I 
believe what Paulina tells me, that Horace never 
wanted to go to Prince's Quay, but that she, fancying 
I was unkind in preventing him, concocted this plan 
without his knowledge. Yes — she only told him of 
it last Saturday, when all her measures had been 
taken, and then he was very properly angry with 
her; but I am quite sure you would not have 
thought better of him for betraying her. Has he 
said anything inconsistent with that ? " 

"Why, no — not if I can believe anything." 

** Then do believe this, Papa dear, for I am sure 
it is the trutL No one can look at Horace a moment 
and think he would wilfully deceive." 

" Little you know about boys, Elspeth. However, 
nothing, as you say, is proved against him, so I am 
content to leave it as it is. I shall say no more 
about it, and you may tell him so." 



XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDAY, 141 

With which Persia stole out to seek Horace in 
the garden 'in vain, and continue her search upstairs 
to his own room, and Palmer Worm Park, where 
she found him squatted down among his flower- 
pots, dull and gloomy, resisting all the caresses that 
little Aline tried to lavish on him, — driving her 
back, sometimes with a growl, sometimes, it may 
be feared, with a kick ; but she was a loving little 
thing, and returned, after every rebuff, to fawn on 
him like a faithful dog. 

It was the first time his father had ever doubted 
his word, and it was very sore to him. When Persis 
came he only turned the more away, and tried to 
shake off her soft hand as Paulina had onee done. 

" Dear Horace, I came to tell you Papa does not 
mean to be angry any more." 

" Does he believe me ? " The boy looked up eagerly, 
and as Persis hesitated — 

" There, you see how it is ! What an abominable 
thing it is to have a sister ! " 

" Oh Horace, don't," entreated Aline. 

*' Get away, do : you are all one as bad as the 
other." 

Persis laughed her little sweet laugh. 



141 PERSUASION, [CHAP. 

"Not quite, Horace," she said. "Come, I do 
not wonder tliat you are exceedingly vexed and 
grieved." 

" Such an abominable trick to have played me ! " 
he went on. 

" She meant it for kindness." 

" As if that did me any good. All those silver- 
washed running to destruction for want of some one 
to catch them — and my new net and alL And my 
father thinking me no end of a brute ! Oh, Persie I 
isn't it enough to drive a fellow out of his senses ? " 

" I really think it is, almost," said Persis. ^* Paula 
almost cried herself ill about it yesterday." 

"I should hope so! You standing up for her, 
Persie, of all people in the world, when she went 
and begged your letters, and told all manner of 
spiteful fibs about them." 

" That was all her mistake." 

" Nice mistake 1 I declare I would as soon have 
a nest of vipers in the house." 

*' I think nothing wiU be so likely to cure her as 
aU this." 

" If not, there will be no living in the house with 
her. T shan't speak to her, nor let her touch any- 



XIV.] POISONING A HOLIDA Y. 1 43 

^M I _ _ ■ -M_i M.^^m ■ _■_ _ ■■■■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ - "*~ —' ~~ • • 

thing of mine, I can tell her. I shouldn't wonder 
if her meddling made the Pemii die ! " 

" Hardly that ; she has been very careful. And, 
Horace, I think the best sign of aU is, that she 
giieves for having brought you into trouble more 
than for herself 

" Well, she may," quoth Horace, " I never asked 
her ; and now she has been and poisoned my holi- 
day, and, what's worse, my father's mind." 

**Papa will soon get over that," said Persis. 
''Nobody can suspect a really true and upright 
boy long." 

" But I shall never now be able to say he never 
suspected me at all. Oh, Persie, that he should 
think I could plot against him and tell him lies, 
and be a horrid mean sham I " 

The boy burst into a flood of tears, feeling it a 
great deal more deeply than Persis had thought was 
in his light gay nature. There, on that queer quad- 
rangle between the roofs, among the caterpillars, he 
leant against her as she sat on a low stool, and cried 
bitterly; and Paulina, lingering about the bedroom 
door, heard, and was cut to the heart. 

But Horace was all the better for the crying ; and 



144 QUEER PETS. . [chap. 



when he did look up again, he had relieved him- 
self, so that he could bear it; and when he had 
looked about a little, he saw that two silkworms 
of the real old kind had actually spun, and must 
be wound. And Persis was so glad to see him 
consoled in any way, that she gladly gave the rest 
of the morning to nothing but the winding of 
silk : and it was done so successfully, that Horace, 
when summoned to dinner, declared that, ''con- 
sidering all things, it was a good thing that the 
sensible people in the family should have stayed 
at home to attend to anything so important." 

Moreover, he entirely forgot that he had intended 
to treat Paulina like a nest of vipers, but he called 
her Polly just as usual, or more kindly as he saw 
her unhappy ; and was so bright and good-natured, 
that Elspeth feared she would lose the impression 
tiiat had been made. 

But Paulina's disposition was very diflFerent from 
her brother's. Things went deeper with her, and his 
kindness, after the injury she had done him, only 
made her pain the greater. She felt there was some- 
thing she could never forget in the way both he 
and Persis treated her. 



CHAPTER XV. 



THE QUAY. 



Elspeth thought the kindest thing to do would be 
to take Horace out for a long walk that afternoon ; 
and though it looked much hotter than was pleasant, 
she offered to go with him to a down where some 
one was reported once to have seen a painted lady 
of the woods. 

It was too far for Aline, and Paulina was not well 
enough, so Persis stayed at home with them, and 
only Olive, whose sturdy legs nothing ever seemed 
to tire, went off with the walkers. 

Just as they were coming home with a poor 
painted lady waiting in a pill-box for the laurel 
leaves that were to end her pretty fluttering life, 
they saw a cab driving at full speed towards the 
station, and Olive declared that she saw Mrs. Grafton 

L 



146 THE PLEASURE PARTY. [chap. 

in it, — Mrs. Grafton, who never was known to leave 
her own fireside. They all laughed at the little girl's 
mistake. 

But as they reached their own gates footsore and 
dusty, but with their hands full of flowers and their 
hearts full of cheerfulness, they saw Mr. Quintall 
coming quickly up from the end of the road. 
Horace, remembering the morning in one sudden 
thrill of shame, would hardly have waited for his 
coming but for a sign he made to them. The first 
thing he did was to lay his hand on Horace's 
shoulder, and exclaim, in a husky, agitated voice — 

" My boy ! my boy '* 

Horace fancied it was displeasure at first, and 
started ; but Elspeth knew better. 

"What is it? Is anything the matter?" she 
asked. 

*' Matter — ^yes, Elsie ; those unhappy boys. Too 
much wine, it is believed. Took a boat — mis- 
managed — ran foul of the quay " 

"Drowned! who?" 

" Poor young Davies ; not sure of the others when 
they telegraphed. Percy Grafton alive, but an arm 
broken. They came into the bank to tell me, fancy- 



r 



XV.] THE QUAY. 1 47 

ing my boy must have been among them, and it 
crossed me whether he had really gone, after I had 
stung him with suspicion, I scarcely durst come 
home to look : " and he wiped his brow and gasped, 
as he held Horace safe by the shoulder. The boy 
was pale enough. 

" I was very near going," he said, in a low awe- 
struck voice; "I was in such a rage I should, if 

Persie hadn't come up and " but there again 

Horace broke down in tears as he strove to ask, 
"Charlie — Charlie HiU — ^was he there?' 

"CharUe Hill— the HiUs never go." 

"Ah, but he said he wouldn't be badgered any 
more. It's all their faulty they bored him so at 
home ^" 

" Poor things ! " said Mr. QuintalL " Horace, we 
do both owe unspeakably much to these sisters of 
yours. I am sorry I spoke hastily to you this 
morning, my boy; I heard afterwards that you had 
steadily refused to join the party this year. I will 
never doubt your word again, Horace, unless you 
give me cause to do so. I beg your pardon now." 

Horace looked up in wonder as his father held out 
his hand and clasped his tight, not so much in 



148 PREVENTED IN TIME, [chap. 

reconciliation as in the joy of feeling it warm, 
strong, and healtlifnL But the boy's heart was very 
sore for his schoolfellows, and he counted over the 
names in great anxiety, for it was pretty well known 
in the school who were going to the regatta, who 
had free leave, and who had extorted it. 

It was Panlina, however, who felt it the most. 
When they came into the house, they found her 
as white as a sheet waiting for tidings. Nobody 
said to her, "Suppose your plan had succeeded?" 
But perhaps she felt it the more because no one 
did. How would she have felt at that moment ? 

She began to understand the real kindness of the 
sisters in not roughly forbidding, as Mrs. HiU did, 
but striving to give a pleasure in lieu of that they 
wished to prevent, — ^the sisters she had thought so 
crueL 

Horace could not stay at home ; he must go up to 
the station to hear what tidings came in, and his 
father somehow could not bear to have him out of 
sight, so they went together while Paulina lay on the 
sofa with her hand in that of Persis, too anxious to 
speak, but listening for every sound. How much 
more terrible that listening might have been! 



XV.] THE QUAY, 1 49 

It was not for more than an hour that the father 
and son came back. Then it was with better news. 
Nobody had been actually drowned. All had been 
restored, with diligent care, though Percy Grafton's 
arm was broken, and he, and one or two more, were 
not in a fit state to be brought home. 

The accident seemed to have been caused by the 
boys' own carelessness and Percy Grafton's conceit. 
They had lunched at a hotel by the waterside, and 
had taken enough liquor of various kinds to make 
them all the more boastful and unsteady. They 
refused all advice and caution from the boatmen, 
and no wonder that the consequence was that even 
in pushiug ofif from the qnay the boat had been upset. 

It was true that all had been rescued, but it had 
been the nearest and narrowest of escapes, and such 
revelations had been made of the perils the boys 
underwent, and, far worse, the company they ran 
into at these regatta parties, that every one in the 
town resolved more firmly than ever that the boys 
should never again be allowed. to go without some 
safe person to look after them. 

And Paulina herself began to understand that 
''putting upon another'' might sometimes mean